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The Howard County



VOL.1, NO.7




More than 30,000 readers throughout Howard County

Tour guide shares ghost vibes

A special place for spirits On Friday and Saturday nights, Schoppert and his fellow tour guides share spooky stories with visitors to the older sections of Ellicott City and Savage Mill. People are drawn to the tours by the area’s reputation as one of the most haunted locales not only in Maryland, but in the country. The guides dress in historic garb. Schoppert dons a top hat, frock coat, formal dress shirt and tie.

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By Anne Ball Marty Schoppert’s ghostly encounter happened a number of years ago when he was a county policeman responding to a call for an incident at Savage Mill’s shopping area. In the course of his investigation, while climbing up a short flight of stairs, Schoppert tripped and fell, sprawling across the steps. “I was really surprised. There was nothing there, no reason I should have tripped. And then I heard this old guy laughing from the door of a shop across the way,” recalled Schoppert. “’Ha, she got ya!’” he called out. “I was furious. I looked all around and there was no one near me. ’What are you talking about?’ I demanded. ‘Who did this?’” “That little girl ghost — she loves to trip folks on the stairs,” the man replied. Schoppert, 63, recently recounted the tale while leading a Howard County Tourism ghost tour for a group that included a man and his young son. As is his custom, Schoppert invited members of the tour group to test the legend. Everyone made it up the stairs except the boy, who stumbled, picked himself up, and ran out the door and into the family car. Schoppert said the dad later told him the boy didn’t say anything until they were halfway home. Then, with a wide-eyed stare, he said, “Dad, she got me!” As for Schoppert, “Well, I’ve never actually seen a ghost,” he acknowledges with a grin. “But let me put it this way — there is definitely something out there. “I’ve sensed the vibes more than a couple of times. Hard to explain, but it’s a feeling that something’s there with you. You may not see it, but it’s there.” Perhaps that’s why Schoppert’s shadowed visage is featured on Howard County’s latest ghost tours brochure.


L E I S U R E & T R AV E L

The quaint Dutch city of Delft; plus, enjoyable outdoor adventures in the Dominican Republic page 23

ARTS & STYLE Marty Schoppert dresses in 19th century garb when he leads weekend ghost tours for Howard County’s tourism department. Many of his tales of hauntings in Savage Mill and Ellicott City come from people living in the area.

Murder gets set to music in vampy Chicago; plus, the 35th anniversary of the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival page 27

He jokes that he’s been in some sort of uniform since he enlisted in the Army at age 18. After his stint in the service, Schoppert went on to perform in rodeos, then served 26 years on the Howard County police force. Now he works as head of security at a local college. Once, he even appeared on “America’s Most Wanted” — playing the part of a suspect who apparently looked just like him. Along the way, Schoppert volunteered with the U.S. Park Service doing costumed living history presentations. Now, in his weekend job for the Howard County Tourism and Promotion Office, he represents a ghostly gentleman of the post-Civil War era.

“I enjoy entertaining and imparting knowledge,” he said. “I noticed after a number of living history demonstrations people would come up and ask about ghost stories. “I had developed a love of Ellicott City, so when I heard they were doing ghost tours, [I thought] it was right up my alley. I always say that I don’t mind being the center of attention — as long as it isn’t a hanging.” Among Schoppert’s fellow tour guides in Ellicott City is Tony Hoos, whose research on the poltergeists and apparitions of the town chronicles a slew of spirits. See GHOST VIBES, page 26

FITNESS & HEALTH k Hypnosis can trump drugs k Seniors are safest drivers?


THE SENIOR CONNECTION 16 k Howard County Office on Aging Newsletter LAW & MONEY k Where to find stable stocks k Is gold the next bubble?




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Moving the folks (Part II) A number of readers have commented to entire past year has recently led to raging me on my column last month, in which I wildfires just outside the Austin city limits.) shared some observations on I mean that the people are the occasion of my parents warm and friendly. Strangers (ages 82 and 91) moving from say “howdy” as they pass you their condo into an assisted livon the street or in the aisles ing facility in Austin, Texas. of the grocery store. No one has actually asked While I was sitting on a chair me why my parents would in the hallway of their new asdecide to stay in Texas when sisted living facility, waiting for my brother and I, their only a staff person to return with a children, live in the greater key, I was addressed by three Washington area. But I think FROM THE different residents strolling by, PUBLISHER it’s worth an explanation. each of whom made a welcomFor one thing, not only my By Stuart P. Rosenthal ing or complimentary comparents, but their parents and ment or stopped to chat. grandparents lived in Texas. They have In contrast, when I took my parents to dozens, possibly hundreds of dear friends visit an otherwise lovely assisted living faciliand family there who go back not only ty here on a visit last winter, they attempted decades, but generations. to strike up conversations with the residents Even more important, however, are in an elevator, outside the dining room and in their “new” friends and neighbors: people the lobby. The reaction, in all cases, was eiwhom they’ve grown close to in the last ther silence, a bemused grin, or a clipped refew years from their condo development, sponse, as if to say, “you’re not from around synagogue and in the course of daily life. these parts, are ya’?” You see, Texas is a very warm place. I hasten to add that my parents received (And I don’t mean because it was 107 de- much warmer welcomes at other commugrees the entire time I was helping them nities in this area than they did there. It move, and because the severe drought this may have been a fluke.

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The low-down on Social Security Are you concerned about what will become of Social Security and Medicare? Would you like to hear from, and speak with, Senator Ben Cardin and Dr. Charles Blahous, one of the public trustees of Social Security and Medicare, about the future of these programs? Maybe it’s time you got some free health screenings and a flu shot? How about an opportunity to gather information from and ask questions of government agencies, nonprofits and area businesses that address the needs of people 50 and over? For all of these reasons and more, mark your calendars for the Beacon’s upcoming 50+Expos, taking place from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30 at Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va., and Sunday, Nov. 6 at White Flint Mall in N. Bethesda, Md. These free events attract thousands every year. Please come join us. In addition to the above, you’ll enjoy live entertainment from the Traveling Heart Band, door prizes and giveaways. Companies interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the Expos may call Alan at (410) 248-9101.

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to keep whatever does not sell?” — she simply emailed me back a few days before the scheduled sale to say she would not be able to conduct my parents’ estate sale after all, leaving us in the lurch. (If you’ve had a negative — or positive — experience with estate sellers in this area, please contact me to share your story. I’m hoping this was an aberration.) There’s more to tell about how my parents are transitioning to their new community, about broken promises from the management, about my parents’ (somewhat unreasonable) expectations, and the like. But it’s probably time for me to move on to other topics. Still, don’t be too surprised if you read more from me about all this in a future column.

Letters to the editor

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But still, when my dad later said to me, “it’s too cold in the East for us,” I think he meant more than the weather. And as for their newer friends in Texas, they have truly proven their genuine love for my folks through their actions. For several weeks prior to the actual move, neighbors and friends — even a former home health aide — came by repeatedly to help my parents sort through their memorabilia and clean up the house for sale. They brought them food, drove them around for appointments, referred them to movers and real estate agents, you name it. Some even provided hands-on help for the actual move and many have continued to check in on them regularly at their new community. It takes a village to care for older people as much as it does for children, and I can certainly say my parents have a caring village in Austin. Of course, what’s a village without a village idiot? Here I refer to some of the estate sale people we encountered. One of the first articles I wrote for the Beacon over 20 years ago was about a local estate sale lady and the wonderful services she rendered. In writing the story, I visited a home where she had set up display cases to sell her client’s excess furniture and clothing, jewelry, knick-knacks, even buttons. Since then, I have always recommended a professional estate sale for downsizing households. So imagine my surprise when I learned that nowadays, in Austin at least, it’s very difficult to find people who do estate sales at all. And when we finally located one, her fee was 40% of the proceeds plus being allowed to keep everything that does not sell! Because time was short and she came highly recommended, my brother booked her for the sale during the days immediately after the move, when I was to be there. But when I dared to raise a question about the terms — “what is your incentive to sell my parents’ valuables when you get

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Dear Editor: Enclosed is an order form for a one-year subscription to your newspaper. My husband has enjoyed reading the Beacon and so have I. Our copy was distributed free at our local senior center. However, few copies remained, and it is only the beginning of the

month! To avoid the possibility of not getting a free copy when the supply is exhausted in some future month, we decided to subscribe. Thank you for publishing such a helpful, interesting and informative newspaper. (Note: we are 72 and 79 years young). Andrea Morris Gruhl Columbia, Md.

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SPECIAL PROGRAM: What will become of Social Security and Medicare? Featuring:

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Health Fitness &

IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT Kids are safer with their grandparents driving than with mom or dad IS ROBOTIC SURGERY BETTER? While the technology is impressive, so far there aren’t proven benefits AUTUMN GARDENING Now is the time to get your garden ready for fall and plan for spring VAIN ABOUT VEINS? There are many ways to prevent and treat varicose veins in the legs

Don’t just cut sodium, boost potassium By Mike Stobbe The debate about the dangers of eating too much salt has gained a new wrinkle: A federal study suggests that the people most at risk are those who also get too little potassium. The new research is one of the first and largest U.S. studies to look at the relationship of salt, potassium and heart disease deaths. Potassium-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, have long been recommended as a dietary defense against heart disease and other chronic illnesses. “If you have too much sodium and too little potassium, it’s worse than either one on its own,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City’s health commissioner, who has led efforts to get the public to eat less salt.

He co-wrote a commentary published with the study in a recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. Potassium may neutralize the heart-damaging effects of salt, said Dr. Elena Kuklina, one of the study’s authors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aim for balance

salt and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who ate about equal amounts of both nutrients. Such a dietary imbalance posed a greater risk than simply eating too much salt, according to the study. Exactly how potassium and salt interact is not understood, and no one believes that simply taking a potassium pill will protect someone against the dangers of a high-salt diet. Instead, the take-home message is what health officials have been saying for years: Eat a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and other potassium-rich foods, and eat less

Potassium may neutralize the heart-damaging effects of salt

Sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Salt — or sodium chloride — is the main source of sodium for most people. The research found people who eat a lot of

salty, processed foods. Health officials say no one should eat more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, equal to about a teaspoon of salt. Certain people, such as those with high blood pressure, should eat even less. But it’s not just a matter of putting down the salt shaker. More than three-quarters of the sodium in the U.S. diet is in processed foods, and only one in 10 Americans meet the teaspoon guideline.

Sources of potassium Americans aren’t much better at getting enough potassium. The recommended amount is 4,700 milligrams a day. The avSee POTASSIUM, page 5

Hypnosis can replace general anesthesia By Maria Cheng As the surgeons cut into her neck, Marianne Marquis was thinking of the beach. As she heard the doctors’ voices, she was imagining her toes in the sand, the water lapping. Marquis had been hypnotized before surgery to have her thyroid removed. She’s among a growing number of surgical patients at the Belgian hospital, Cliniques Universitaires St. Luc in Brussels, who choose hypnosis and a local anesthetic to avoid the groggy knockout effect of general anesthesia. These patients are sedated but aware, and doctors say their recovery time is faster and their need for painkillers reduced. This method is feasible for only certain types of operations. In her case, Marquis, 53, imagined herself in a field near a beach — which her anesthetist began describing by whispering into her ear about 10 minutes before surgery. She remembers hearing the doctors talk to her, but said it was as if they were far away. “I was imagining squishing my toes in the sand and feeling water come up over them,” Marquis said. She felt a little pressure on her neck with the first incision but said it wasn’t painful. Since doctors began offering hypnosis at the hospital in 2003, hundreds of patients have chosen it. At another Belgian

hospital, more than 8,000 surgeries have been done this way since 1992.

Sense of pain diminished Doctors say nearly any surgery usually done with a local anesthetic could work with hypnosis and less pain medicine. Proponents say hypnosis can dull patients’ sense of pain and that it also cuts down on the need for anesthetic. That means patients recover faster and hospitals save money, according to some studies. But it may require doctors to spend more time with patients beforehand to do the hypnosis and they may need more careful monitoring during surgery. The technique has become increasingly popular in France and Belgium in recent years. Some plastic and facial surgeons in Germany also use hypnosis, as do some British dental surgeons. The French Society of Anesthesiologists describes hypnosis as a valid way to supplement anesthesia to reduce stress, anxiety and pain. But neither the Belgian nor British anesthesiology groups offer specific hypnosis advice. Because of demand, the French Society of Anesthesiologists created a special hypnosis branch in their organization last year. There are no figures on how widely hypnosis is used across Europe. In several of the nearly dozen French hospitals in Rennes, a northwest city of about 200,000

people, it’s used in about half of all operations, said Claude Virot, a psychiatrist and director of the Institute of Research and Training in Therapeutic Communication there. Virot helps organize hypnosis training and said about 500 health professionals get it every year in France. Dr. Fabienne Roelants, Marquis’ anesthetist, described hypnosis as a modified state of consciousness. “The patient’s mind goes to a pleasant place, but the body stays in the operating room.” At Roelants’ hospital, one-third of all surgeries to remove thyroids and one-quarter of all breast cancer surgeries, including biopsies and mastectomies, use hypnosis and a local anesthetic. She and colleagues hope to expand the technique to procedures like hernias, knee arthroscopies and plastic surgeries. Roelants said if patients feel any pain during the procedure, anesthetists immediately give them a painkiller shot. During a recent procedure in Brussels where Christel Place, 43, had her thyroid removed, she furrowed her brow a couple of times to signal to Roelants she needed more drugs. In a green-lit room that helps relax the patients, Place pictured herself hiking in the French Alps while surgeons sliced her neck open. The thyroid is a small gland at the bottom of the neck and makes hormones to control the body’s metabolism. It is some-

times removed when it becomes enlarged, overactive or cancerous. The surgery can be done either with local or general anesthesia and is considered low-risk. Place said waking up from the surgery was more abrupt than she’d expected. “It was like I was really in the mountains and then ‘poof,’ it was over,” Place said, laughing.

Some caveats Other experts caution that hypnosis would be impossible in major operations involving the heart or other internal organs because the pain would be unbearable. “If hypnosis doesn’t work and you’ve got somebody’s abdomen or chest open, then you’re in big trouble,” said George Lewith, a professor of health research at Southampton University. “You need to be able to switch to another option immediately,” he said. Consistency is also an issue. “It’s not used routinely because it’s not effective in everyone and it takes a while,” said Dr. Mark Warner, president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He said doctors would need extra time to conduct hypnosis and would need to work more closely with surgeons. Warner said there are no guidelines on its surgical use in the U.S. He often uses See HYPNOSIS, page 6

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Health officials have increasingly pushed the public to reduce their salt intake, but the CDC study comes in the midst of some scientific back and forth over how dangerous dietary salt is. In a recent review of seven smaller studies, other researchers found no strong evidence that people with high or normal blood pressure reduce their risk of death by reducing sodium consumption. That review, by the Cochrane Collaboration, had limitations because of its size. Still, it prompted the Salt Institute — an industry group — to call government policy on reducing salt consumption ill-advised. “In light of this, and other recent research, it is time for the government to cease its costly and wasteful efforts to reduce salt consumption until it can conclusively prove a tangible benefit for all consumers. This can only be done through a large-scale clinical trial on the impact of dietary salt reduction on health outcomes,” said Lori Roman, the Salt Institute’s president, in a statement. Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition scientist, said the attention on salt has created a lot of backlash. The CDC study “is a confirmation that dietary salt does matter, and all these public health efforts and the dietary guidelines are appropriate,” she said. — AP


erage woman gets only about half that; the average man gets slightly more. Spinach, bananas, broccoli and prunes are among the foods known as good potassium sources. [For more on good food sources, see our Nutrition Wise column on page 22.] In the new study, researchers surveyed more than 12,000 U.S. adults ages 20 and older, asking them what they ate the previous day, and calculating their daily consumption of sodium and potassium. The participants were followed for 14 years, and 433 died from heart attacks. In addition to the increased risk of high sodium and low potassium, the study also found ill effects from high sodium alone. People who consumed 5 grams a day had nearly twice the risk of dying from a heart attack as people who ate 2 grams a day during the follow-up period. Some experts found the results interesting, but also noted several limitations of the study. Results are based on what people said they ate on just one day of their life. That day may not have been typical and it may not be representative of their diet in the years since, noted Dr. Robert Eckel, a University of Colorado heart expert. Also, it’s an observational study that shows an apparent link, not the kind of rigorous scientific study used to prove cause


Is sodium so bad, after all?

From page 4


and effect, he added.





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Grandparents drive children more safely By Lindsey Tanner Kids may be far safer in cars when grandma or grandpa are driving instead of mom or dad, according to study results that even made the researchers do a double-take. “We were surprised to discover that the injury rate was considerably lower in crashes where grandparents were the drivers,� said Dr. Fred Henretig, an emergency medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the study’s lead author. Previous evidence indicates that car crashes are more common in older drivers, mostly those beyond age 65. The study, however, looked at injuries rather than who had more crashes. It found that children’s risk for injury was 50 percent lower when riding with grandparents than with parents. The study was released online in the journal Pediatrics.

Farm insurance claims for car crashes in 15 states from 2003 to 2007, supplemented by interviews with the drivers. The data involved nearly 12,000 children up to age 15. Henretig, 64, said the study was prompted by his own experiences when his first grandchild was born three years ago. “I found myself being very nervous on the occasions that we drove our granddaughter around, and really wondered if anyone had ever looked at this before,� he said. Reasons for the unexpected findings are uncertain, but the researchers have a theory. “Perhaps grandparents are made more nervous about the task of driving with the ‘precious cargo’ of their grandchildren, and establish more cautious driving habits� to compensate for any age-related challenges, they wrote.

Grandparents are younger now Insurance records analyzed 5 The results are from an analysis of State

Northwestern University Professor Joseph Schofer, a transportation expert not

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involved in the research, noted that the average age of grandparents studied was 58. “Grandparents today are not that old� and don’t fit the image of an impaired older driver, he said. “None of us should represent grandparents as kind of hobbling to the car on a walker.� Grandparents did flub one safety measure. Nearly all the kids were in car seats or seat belts, but grandparents were slightly less likely to follow recommended practices, which include rear-facing backseat car seats for infants and no front-seats. But that didn’t seem to affect injury rates. Only about 10 percent of kids in the study were driven by grandparents, but they suffered proportionately fewer injuries. Overall, 1.05 percent of kids were injured when riding with parents, versus 0.70 percent of those riding with grandparents, or a 33 percent lower risk. The difference was even more pronounced — 50 percent — when the re-

searchers took into account other things that could influence injury rates, including not using car seats, and older-model cars. Kids suffered similar types of injuries regardless of who was driving, including concussions, other head injuries and broken bones. The study does not include data on deaths, but Henretig said there were very few. It also lacked information on the types of car trips involved. For example, driving in busy city traffic might increase chances for crashes with injuries. Schofer, the Northwestern professor, said other unstudied circumstances could have played a role. For example, grandparents could be less distracted and less frazzled than busy parents dropping their kids off at school while rushing to get to work or to do errands. Driving trips might be “quality time� for older drivers and their grandchildren, Schofer said. —AP


leagues randomly assigned 200 patients in the U.S. having a breast biopsy or lumpectomy to get either hypnosis or a brief session with a psychologist beforehand. They found hypnotized patients needed fewer painkillers and sedatives and required less time in surgery. On average, each hypnotized patient cost the hospital about $770 less than those who weren’t hypnotized. Marquis recommends hypnosis to patients who want to avoid anesthesia, but warned it isn’t for everyone. “You have to be in the right mental frame of mind for this, be properly prepared, and trust the medical staff to take care of you,� she said. “If you’re very skeptical of hypnosis and freaked out about whether it’s going to work, it probably won’t.� — AP

From page 4 music therapy or asks patients to picture a soothing scene to distract them from any discomfort. “If we could get more research on the right patient groups that would benefit from (hypnosis), that would be wonderful,� he said. Some experts said hypnosis is a hard sell because no one really profits from it. “The problem is the money doesn’t really go into anyone’s hands, and the only person who really benefits from it is the patient,� said Guy Montgomery, an associate professor at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, who led a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 2007. In that research, Montgomery and col-

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Poll asks what boomers think about aging By Connie Cass and Stacy A. Anderson Baby boomers say wrinkles aren’t so bad and they’re not that worried about dying. Just don’t call them “old.” The generation that once powered a youth movement isn’t ready to symbolize the aging of America, even as its first members are becoming eligible for Medicare. A new poll finds three-quarters of all baby boomers still consider themselves middle-aged or younger, and that includes most of the boomers who are ages 57-65. Younger adults call 60 the start of old age, but baby boomers are pushing that number back, according to the Associated poll. The median age they cite is 70. And a quarter of boomers insist you’re not old until you’re 80. “In my 20s, I would have thought the 60s were bad, but they’re not so bad at all,” said 64-year-old Lynn Brown, a retired legal assistant and grandmother of 11 living near Phoenix in Apache Junction, Ariz. The 77 million boomers are celebrating their 47th through 65th birthdays this year.

A positive view of aging Overall, they’re upbeat about their futures. Americans born in the population explosion after World War II are more likely to be excited about the positive aspects of aging, such as retirement, than worried about the negatives, like declining health. A third of those polled feel confident about growing older, almost twice as many as those finding it frustrating or sad. Sixteen percent report they’re happy about aging, about equal to the number who say they’re afraid. Most expect to live longer than their parents. “I still think I’ve got years to go to do things,” said Robert Bechtel, 64, of Virginia Beach, Va. He retired last year after nearly

four decades as a retail manager. Now Bechtel has less stress and more time to do what he pleases, including designing a bunk bed for his grandchildren, remodeling a bathroom and teaching Sunday school. A strong majority of baby boomers are enthusiastic about some perks of aging — watching their children or grandchildren grow up, doing more with friends and family, and getting time for favorite activities. About half say they’re highly excited about retirement. Boomers most frequently offered “the wisdom accumulated over their lives” as the best thing about aging.

Chief concern: health “The older you get, the smarter you get,” said Glenn Farrand, 62, of Ankeny, Iowa. But, he adds, “The physical part of it is the pits.” Baby boomers most often brought up failing health or fading physical abilities when asked to name the worst thing about getting older. Among their top worries: physical ailments that would take away their independence (deeply worrisome to 45 percent), losing their memory (44 percent), and being unable to pay medical bills (43 percent). Many also fret about running out of money (41 percent). Only 18 percent say they worry about dying. Another 22 percent are “moderately” concerned about it. More than twothirds expect to live to at least age 76; 1 in 6 expects to make it into the 90s. About half predict a better quality of life for themselves than their parents experienced as they aged. “My own parents, by the time they were 65 to 70, were very, very inactive and very much old in their minds,” said Brown. So they “sat around the house and didn’t go anywhere.” “I have no intentions of sitting around

the house,” said Brown, whose hobbies include motorcycle rides with her husband. “I’m enjoying being a senior citizen more than my parents did.” But a minority of boomers — about a fourth — worry that things will be harder for them than for the previous generation. “I think we’ll have less,” said Vicki Mooney, 62, of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., who fears older people will be pinched by cuts to Social Security and Medicare and rising healthcare costs. “The main difference in the quality of life is wondering if we will have a safety net.” Baby boomers with higher incomes generally are more optimistic about aging than their poorer peers. Women tend to feel sunnier than men; college graduates are more positive than those without a degree. A third of baby boomers say their health has declined in the last five years, and that group is more likely to express fear or frustration about aging. Still, most boomers rate themselves in good or even excellent health overall, with less than 1 in 10 doing poorly.

The vanity factor Looking older is seriously bugging just 12 percent of baby boomers. The vast majority say they wouldn’t get plastic surgery. That includes Johanna Taisey, 61, of Chandler, Ariz., who said aging is “no problem at all ... it’s just

nature. Age with dignity,” she advises. Among the 1 in 5 who have had or would consider cosmetic surgery, about half say they might improve their tummy or eyes. A sagging chin is the next biggest worry — nearly 40 percent would consider getting that fixed. Only 5 percent of baby boomers say they might use the chemical Botox to temporarily smooth away wrinkles; 17 percent would consider laser treatments to fix varicose veins. But boomers, especially women, are taking some steps to look younger. A majority of the women — 55 percent — regularly dye their hair, and they overwhelmingly say it’s to cover gray. Only 5 percent of the men admit using hair color. A quarter of the women have paid more than $25 for an anti-aging skincare product, such as a lotion or night cream. Just 5 percent of the men say they’ve bought skincare that expensive. Almost all baby boomers — 90 percent — have tried to eat better. Three-quarters say they’re motivated more by a desire to improve their health than their appearance. Most boomers — 57 percent — say in the past year they’ve taken up a regular program of exercise. About the same number do mental exercises, such as crossword See BOOMERS, page 8

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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Robotic surgery may not be better choice By Dr. Richard A. Hodin Q. A hospital in the area is advertising robotic surgery. Is it really any better than having a surgeon do the operation? A. A better term might be robotic instrumentation, because ultimately, there’s always a human surgeon with his or her hands on the robot’s controls. The first such surgery was performed in the mid1980s. Now thousands of operations are being done with the assistance of robots. Even without robots, a lot of surgery is less hands-on than it used to be. For decades, surgeons have been doing many common abdominal operations, like gallbladder removals, with laparoscopes — tube-like instruments with video cameras on the ends — and long-handled sur-

gical instruments, all of which are inserted through small incisions. Surgeons watch magnified images on video monitors to see what they are doing so they can guide the surgical instruments. There was a learning curve, but laparoscopic surgery is actually easier to perform in some ways than surgery done with direct visualization through large incisions and with instruments that bring the surgeon’s hands in closer contact with the tissue that’s being operated on. And the smaller incisions of laparoscopic surgery have made a big difference for patients: There’s less pain and scarring, and people usually recover much faster, so hospital stays are shorter. Robotic surgery is being touted by some

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as the next generation of laparoscopic surgery. In the most common setup, surgeons don’t stand at the operating table, but instead sit and watch a video console that displays three-dimensional images. They use computer controllers to guide the large robotic arms that maneuver the surgical instruments inside the body. The machines are expensive to buy (the price tag is well over $1 million) and operate (disposable instruments are used for each operation).

Benefits not proven It’s impressive technology, but what are the benefits? Unfortunately, up to this point, there’s remarkably little, if any, evidence that robotic surgery helps the patient or the surgeon. For example, studies comparing robotic with standard laparoscopic approaches for prostate surgery haven’t shown any real improvements in recovery times or in reducing the incidence of impotence or urinary problems.

Boomers From page 7 puzzles or video games, to stay sharp. The poll involved online interviews with 1,416 adults,

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Yet more hospitals are buying these machines, not out of any real medical need or demonstrated advantage, but because of smart, skillful marketing by the companies that make them. Once a hospital has robotic surgery equipment, it needs to justify the cost by marketing it to the public. That’s why you are seeing ads from the hospital in your area. Surgeons are now using the machines to perform cardiac, rectal, thyroid and other operations. Surgeons at the hospital where I work, Massachusetts General Hospital, are doing robotic surgery, too. I’ll keep an open mind. There may be some benefit. But so far, I think much of robotic surgery has been a costly experiment in marketing that has mainly benefited the companies that make the machines. In healthcare, we have to resist falling into the trap that newer is always better. © 2011 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc. including 1,078 baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. The margin of sampling error for results from the full sample is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points; for the boomers, it is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. —AP

Walking slows brain loss, boosts memory Some memory loss is normal as people age, as any middle-aged person who’s spent an hour looking for misplaced car keys can attest. But by age 65, more than half of adults say they’re concerned about memory problems. Although it’s still impossible to prevent neurological disorders that contribute to memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s disease and most other dementias, one recent study adds to the evidence that engaging in regular physical exercise protects against normal age-related memory decline. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recruited 120 adults, ages 55 to 80, and randomly assigned them to one of two groups. One group walked briskly for 40 minutes per day, three times a week, while the other performed stretching exercises for the same amount of time. One year later, participants in both groups were more physically fit than they were when the study began, but the walkers improved significantly more than those who did stretching exercises. Likewise, while scores on a memory test improved in both groups, the walk-

ing group improved more than the other group. Moreover, test scores correlated closely to findings of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans taken at the start of the study and one year later. The MRI scans revealed that the hippocampus — a structure in the brain involved in the processing and storage of memories — increased by 2 percent in the walkers, but decreased by 1.4 percent in the people who did stretching exercises. The larger the hippocampus — whether the participant was assigned to walking or stretching — the better his or her score on the memory test. In older adults, the hippocampus tends to shrink by 1 to 2 percent per year — which likely contributes to agerelated memory loss. This study provides evidence that hippocampal shrinkage — and memory loss — may not be inevitable. Keeping physically fit, and especially engaging in aerobic activities like brisk walking, apparently not only exercises physical muscle but also boosts brain power. — Harvard Mental Health Letter

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1

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Remember Your Loved Ones Protect ose You Love Most. Have you ever wished you could free your family from the painful burden of arranging a funeral? You can. Preplan it all now and give them peace of mind, knowing everything is prepared. e cost is less than you’d think. Preplanning can help to protect you from inflation by securing today’s prices for goods and services. For your family, preplanning allows them to spend their time supporting one another, sharing memories and celebrating the life that you lived. It lifts the burden of decision-making from their shoulders. Prearranging your funeral or cremation service is a decision only you can make, but it is a decision that affects the people you love. One of the best ways to pre-plan may be to sit down and put your thoughts in writing. e Personal Planning Guide offered by Meadowridge Memorial Park is clear, concise, easy to complete and offered free of charge. is guide is a “fill-in-theblank” final arrangement planner that takes you, step by step, through the recording of your wishes.

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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Expo explores the many faces of 50-plus By Starr Sowers The Howard County Office on Aging believes healthy aging is something everyone can and should strive to achieve, but realizes that “healthy aging” may look and feel different from one person to the next. Despite these differences, the fact remains that many of us are woefully unprepared to deal with changes in our physical and mental health as we age, yet feel that we aren’t “old” enough to seek assistance from the Office on Aging or learn about re-

sources available at senior centers. That is one reason the Office on Aging has chosen to “Celebrate the many faces of 50+” at our annual 50+EXPO. The Howard County Office on Aging, Department of Citizen Services will present the 13th Annual 50+EXPO on Friday, Oct. 21. The annual event showcases not only Howard County’s programs and services for older adults, families and caregivers, but also a wide range of programs and services offered by state and federal

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government agencies, for-profit businesses and non-profit community organizations. Mark your calendar and plan to attend this informative and entertaining event that focuses on healthy aging initiatives. The 50+EXPO will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd. in Columbia. Free door-todoor shuttle service is available from the Mall in Columbia (limited handicapped accessible parking is available at the high school, so plan to take full advantage of this convenient shuttle service). The 50+EXPO features the support of corporate healthcare sponsors Howard County General Hospital (a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine); CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; Dignity Memorial (the Café 50+ sponsor); and St. Agnes Hospital.

Howard County General will also host an onsite health fair, and offer a speaker series on such topics as the warning signs (and prevention) of strokes; surgical issues in ophthalmology; incontinence concerns; and joint replacement and orthopedics. St. Agnes Hospital will pr esent “Alzheimer’s disease: Diagnosis and Treatment… What’s New?” and will offer a seminar on vascular disease (attendees will receive a voucher good for a vascular screening at a Howard County Senior Center for a later date shortly following the expo). This year, AAA and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education (MAFSE, a non-profit affiliate of AAA) will join the ranks See EXPO, page 11


Oct. 4


Dr. Mary Carson will discuss the major causes of hearing loss and the latest advances in digital hearing technology on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A complimentary lunch will be served. The event will be held at Historic Oakland, 5430 Vantage Point Rd., Columbia. RSVP at (410) 696-2890.

Oct. 26

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“Forgetfulness: What’s Normal and What’s Not?” will be presented by neuroscientist Dr. Andres Monjan, retired chief of the Neurobiology of Aging branch at the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. The program will be presented on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Howard County Library Central Branch, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. For further information, call (410) 313-7800.

Oct. 6


Discover how happiness impacts your health and learn how to develop strategies to create more happiness in your life. This free program will be offered on Thursday, Oct. 6 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center Medical Pavilion, 10710 Charter Dr., Suite 100 in Columbia. For further information, call (410) 740-7601 or visit the web site

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Expo From page 10 of our platinum-level sponsors. In addition to their exhibition space, the foundation will present “Keeping the Keys” at 11:30 a.m. in the Jim Rouse Theatre. Moderated by MAFSE Director Norman Grimm, the panel discussion will feature experts in the field of driving safety and will include a Q&A session following the presentation. The panel will include the chief of the Maryland MVA Medical Advisory Board; a Towson University professor of occupational therapy, who will explain how changes in our bodies as we age affect our ability to drive safely; and a representative from Posit Science, who will discuss scientifically proven ways to sharpen focus and improve memory, thus enabling older drivers to be more alert and able to spot risks quicker. Also, a representative from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety will address upcoming research and tools that can help older drivers drive safer.

Career and health seminars Other highlights of this year’s 50+EXPO include “re-careering” workshops by the Office of Workforce Development on crafting effective resumes and becoming technologically savvy before reentering the job market. Harriet Watkins from the Ellicott City Senior Center Plus will present an interactive program entitled, “Fall Prevention: Simple Steps to Safety.” Becky Bowman from the Office on Consumer Affairs will offer “Scams, Cons & Fraud: How to Protect Your ID and Your Money.” The Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition will present a short film and discussion entitled, Stealing Trust, which will include a Q&A session for the benefit of attendees. Other seminar topics will focus on


Oct. 18


Travel to Gettysburg, Pa., in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and do some “leaf peeping” on the way. See the visitor’s center and then have lunch at the Hickory Bridge Farm Restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the home and farm of President Eisenhower. A stop at the Catoctin Orchard is planned for the way home. The bus will leave from the Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Rd., at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18 and will return at 6:30 p.m. The cost is $79. Make your reservation at the center’s front desk or call (410) 313-1400.

men’s health, job and life coaching services for at-risk women, and dating & HIV. This event brings together more than 4,000 attendees and 140+ exhibitors, and offers informative programming, a broad range of exhibitors, flu/pneumonia shots and “Living Green” demonstrations, and plenty of entertainment, food & refreshments in the café. Another popular feature is the chance to experience the incomparable political satire of “The Capitol Steps” in the Jim Rouse Theatre, with two free performances at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. In addition to our Platinum Level sponsors, we have received Gold Level support from Advanced Radiology, Advanced Hearing Centers, Inc., the Columbia Association, the Howard County Health Department, and the Evergreens at Columbia Town Center (Luxury 55+ Apartments). Media sponsors include the Beacon Newspapers, Baltimore Sun Media Group, Central Maryland Regional Transit (CMRT), the Guide to Retirement Living Source-

Book and the Business Monthly. The support and assistance of these partners are a tremendous factor in contributing to the success of the 50+EXPO. Many corporate sponsors and vendors return every year for this one-of-a-kind event, and a variety of new exhibitors have signed up and are ready to showcase their products and services. If you would like information on corporate sponsorships for the 50+EXPO in 2012, contact Lisa Madera


at (410) 313-5990. For additional information on the expo, call (410) 313-6410 or visit Starr Sowers is the manager of the Health & Wellness Division of the Howard County Office on Aging, Department of Citizen Services. For more information about Office on Aging programs, contact Maryland Access Point at (410) 313-5980, or visit


Oct. 27


This free seminar sponsored by SPRING Wellness covers many aspects of relationship aspects as we age, including the importance of social networking, the challenges of relationship building, and how technology can help with relationships. Life and relationship coach Sherry Clarke will provide the keynote presentation, and small group discussions will follow. Light refreshments will be served. The seminar will take place Thursday, Oct. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information, contact Karen Hull, or (410) 313-7466.


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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Ways to prevent and treat varicose veins By Dr. Robert McBane Dear Mayo Clinic: Is it possible to treat varicose veins? I have several that don’t bother me much, but a few that are slightly painful. Veins anywhere in the body can become enlarged and twisted (varicose), but varicose veins most commonly occur in the legs and feet. Age, pregnancy, obesity or work that involves standing for long periods can all increase the risk of developing varicose veins. So can genetics and your gender. If other family members had varicose veins, there’s a greater chance you will, too. Women also are more likely to develop this problem than are men. Varicose veins are sometimes viewed as just a cosmetic concern. Most varicose veins are dark purple or blue in color. They can also bulge out from under the skin,

making them quite noticeable. However, varicose veins can cause other problems, including an achy or heavy feeling in your legs. Some people also experience throbbing, cramping or mild swelling in the lower legs — especially after standing for long periods of time. More-serious complications are rare. But varicose veins can sometimes lead to an itchy skin rash (dermatitis) and cause open sores (skin ulcers) to develop. Occasionally, blood clots may develop in a vein and cause pain, tenderness and swelling. Talk to your doctor if you have varicose veins and notice a change in how your legs feel, have skin discoloration, or have swelling in your legs. Skin ulcers and sudden, painful swelling should receive immediate medical attention. Depending on your signs and symptoms, varicose veins may be treated with

lifestyle changes, medical procedures or a combination of both. Lifestyle changes are recommended for mild symptoms because they can reduce discomfort and keep varicose veins from getting worse. These include not staying in one position for hours on end, elevating your legs above your heart a few times a day, and doing any physical activity that gets your legs moving. Losing weight, if necessary, also may help. Your doctor also may recommend that you wear compression stockings. These create gentle pressure up the leg, which can keep blood from pooling in the legs and decrease swelling. If your varicose veins don’t respond to these treatments, or if your veins are causing severe problems, your doctor may suggest one or more of these procedures:

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• Sclerotherapy uses a chemical injected into a varicose vein to cause irritation and scarring. Several treatments may be needed to completely close off a vein and allow it to fade. • Laser therapy uses strong bursts of light directed at a vein, making it slowly fade and disappear. This is mostly used to close off smaller varicose veins. • Endovenous thermal ablation uses the heat from lasers or radio waves to close off larger varicose veins. • Vein stripping involves tying shut and removing large varicose veins through small cuts in the skin. Vein stripping was commonly used in the past. But now it’s mostly recommended for people who aren’t good candidates for endovenous thermal ablation. • Ambulatory phlebectomy involves making tiny cuts to remove small veins close to the skin’s surface. It’s often done at the same time as endovenous thermal ablation or vein stripping. Another option, endoscopic vein surgery, is typically used only for varicose veins that are causing skin ulcers. Although most procedures used to treat varicose veins can be done on an outpatient basis, be sure to ask about health risks, possible side effects and needed recovery time. You may also want to inquire about insurance coverage. Most policies don’t cover the cost of purely cosmetic procedures. However, insurance may cover treatments used to relieve pain, swelling, or other signs and symptoms of varicose veins. © 2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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Celebrate German traditions at Blob’s Park in Jessup. This legendary German beer garden is re-opening for limited weekends, and features a hot buffet and polka dancing. Take a bus trip with the Department of Recreation & Parks on Sunday, Oct. 9 from 2 to 9 p.m. The cost is $66.To register or for additional information, call (410) 313-7279

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The innovative and creative “intrapreneur” transforms an idea into a profitable venture. Learn how to develop your “intrapreneurship” and leadership with activities that demonstrate how to think creatively and apply your innovations at work. Cosponsored and presented by the Howard Community College’s Business & Computer Systems Division on Monday, Oct. 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Howard County Library Central Branch, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. For further information, call (410) 313-7800.

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Getting your garden ready for autumn By Ruth Kling In our area, we can still have hot weather into September. But autumn is all about preparing plants for their winter nap. It is very hard to imagine picking carrots sweetened by a touch of frost on days when the temperature is in the 90s and the humidity is close to 80 percent. Yet this is the time to prepare for many fall crops, even if the weather doesn’t feel like autumn yet. Eventually you will enjoy gardening outside again in cooler weather. Vegetables such as carrots, leeks, turnips, cabbages and Swiss chard should all have been planted by early September. Lettuce, spinach and radishes can still be planted in mid-September. Perennial flowers, shrubs and herbs can be planted and divided in the cooler days of September and October. Please choose a cool and slightly overcast day for transplanting and dividing. It will be easier on you and the plants will thank you for that, too. Direct sunlight is hard on roots. Roses should have had their last feeding in August and left alone, except for a bit of dead heading of the flowers, until late winter. This might be a good time to turn a compost pile and see what you have cooked up over the summer. As for trees and larger shrubs, generally there is nothing much to do except prune back dead parts and add mulch if there is none. We had a wet September, so watering should not be a problem for trees going into the autumn months.

Using raised beds If you are planning on new beds — whether for annuals, perennials or vegetables — this is the time to begin the work. No digging is required if you build up a raised bed of layered manure, compost

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and leaf mold and let the contents compost over winter. By spring, you will have a new bed ready for planting. This was the first year I have used raised beds assembled by this process, and they produced more and better vegetables. I still had to weed and water, but it was a bit easier. Cleaning up as vegetables and flowers are harvested is important. Dead plant matter will harbor pests, including diseases and even mice and voles. So clean up any dead stalks of annuals and perennials and compost them if they are from healthy plants. If plants look like they had some disease, however, throw them away with the garbage. If there are branches or sticks that are too thick to compost easily, try to send them to your county’s composting program. Again, if they are diseased, throw them away.

Planning for spring The last fall chore that I suggest you accomplish does not have anything to do with digging in the dirt or cleaning up after the harvest. Planning is as important as remembering to feed your plants. If you haven’t already, get a notebook or journal and write down which annuals, including vegetables, worked and which did not. List the names of these plants so you know what to order for next year. If you have not kept the seed packets or written down their names, try looking them up in old seed catalogs. Do this while the memory is fresh in your mind. Also, now is the time to write down where things were planted and what pests you experienced when. This will help you gauge when and where to plant next year. Vegetable crops should be rotated to a new spot each year, even in small gardens. I have

vegetables planted in about 36 square feet of raised beds. (I planted a couple of squash plants on the side and potatoes in bags.) I divided the two 3x6 foot beds into four 3x3 beds and planted things from the same type of plant in each. Next year I can rotate them to keep pests from overwintering and infesting plants every year. The four types of plants are tomatoes (solanaceae), cole crops (cabbage), cucurbits (cucumbers, melon and squash), and peas and beans.

If you have some annual flowers that had an infestation of something or experienced a bad case of powdery mildew or wilt, try planting them somewhere else as well. I have given you a lot to think about and a few things to do for your fall gardening chores. I hope you enjoy the autumn months and take advantage of the better gardening weather. Ruth Kling blogs about gardening at Have questions? Email Ruth at

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O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N


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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1


Losing weight, choosing a mate and more Dear Solutions: ing, he just makes a modest living. lost his wealth? Could you laugh that off? I’ve been overweight all my life, and I don’t know whether to give up the Bottom line: if you really cared enough I come from a family of well-off boyfriend. My sis- about the money man, you wouldn’t be obese people. We always ter says I should stick with asking the question. have these big family gathhim because I’ll always Dear Solutions: erings where people enjoy have a full belly. I’m afraid As much as I love being out with my the company, and food is to give him up, and yet I’m husband, I find that when I’m with the main event. torn. women we laugh at ourselves and our Now I’ve started to seri— Jen lives and our mistakes. If I try the ously lose weight, so when I Dear Jen: same kind of good-natured ribbing go to these gatherings, a lot Depends on whether you with my husband or even with other of the family is acting angry want a belly laugh or a belly men, there’s no laughter, just dead siat me when I don’t eat their full. Laughter is a great glue lence. food. A couple of cousins SOLUTIONS that helps to keep people atI do notice, though, that my husband admire what I’m doing, but By Helen Oxenberg, tached. You have to decide will tell stories about silly things that I the rest almost ignore me or MSW, ACSW whether you want to stick did, and if I confront him about why he criticize me and try to preswith that good trait (assuming can do this about me, but I can’t do this sure me to eat. What would you advise? other traits are good also) or take your about him, he says, “Oh, you’re a good — Andie chances. sport. You can take it better.” Dear Andie: Money can be lost — how would you feel Then I really get annoyed. I don’t feel Don’t let them throw their weight about being with the other boyfriend if he that way with the women, but when he around! They resent what you’re doing because they feel it as a critical judgment of themselves. If you want to keep going to these gatherings, you have to tell them that you love them the way they are, but you have to do this for yourself. It’s very hard to do what you’re doing, so join as many support groups as you can to be with people who will admire and encourage you. As for the family, those who want you to succeed will be supportive, and the rest — remind yourself that although you would like their approval, you don’t need it! Dear Solutions: I’m a widow, and I’ve been going out – Peter Drucker – Economist with someone for a long time. He wants to marry me. I like him a lot, but I don’t think I love him. However, he’s very wealthy, and it’s tempting. A month ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a man whom he thought would be a good match for me. I really enjoy being with this person because he makes me laugh all the time, and I love to laugh. He’s not a ver y ambitious man, though, and although he’s still work-

does this I feel that I’m being set up. — Ellen Dear Ellen: You are. The setup, though, has to do with his male ego and his old-fashioned view of women as “cute,” “silly” or whatever else makes him feel good about himself. The difference when you’re with women is that you’re each telling these stories about yourself. You’re able to laugh at yourselves without feeling diminished. So tell him that you’re willing to listen and laugh at silly things you’ve both done together, but your sportsmanship runs out when he’s just using you as a foil. © Helen Oxenberg, 2011. Questions to be considered for this column may be sent to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may also email the author at To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.


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VOLUME 1, N  O. 7 â&#x20AC;˘ OCTOBER  2011


Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Note: The search is on for a new Office on Aging administrator. Watch for the return of A Message from the Administrator, coming soon!

Shop Earlier for a Part D Plan By Bill Salganik, Counselor, Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) Every year in Oct. we remind people itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to review their Medicare Part D prescription plan. Since insurance companies can â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and do â&#x20AC;&#x201D; change their premiums, co-pays, and lists of covered drugs each year, the plan that was best for you in 2011 may not be the best in 2012. In some cases, enrolling in a different plan may save you hundreds of dollars. This year, the annual reminder comes with a new twist: shop again, and shop earlier. Open enrollment begins Oct. 15 and ends December 7, several weeks earlier than last year. So, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re used to choosing your prescription coverage each year around Christmas or New Yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Eve, this year you need to think Thanksgiving â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or even Columbus Day! The Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) will hold enrollment events throughout the sign-up period at senior centers and other locations. At each event, you can get a one-on-one review of your needs, and we can sign you up on the spot. The plan you choose during the enrollment period will start Jan. 1, 2012 and last all year. Call 410-313-7392 or visit for the schedule of events or to make an individual appointment.

The Senior Connection is published monthly by the Howard County Office on Aging, Department of Citizen Services. We welcome your comments and suggestions. To contact us, or to join our email subscriber list, email with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;subscribeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in the subject box. The Senior Connection from Howard County Office on Aging 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046 410-313-6410 | Dale Jackson, Acting Administrator Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the Howard County Office on Aging or by the publisher.


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9:00 am - 4:00 pm Wilde Lake High School 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia, MD

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1

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Coming Events The Senior Connection

Sat., Oct. 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Rain or shine) — Glenwood Car Show, Gary J. Arthur Community Center, 2400 Route 97, Cooksville

Registration begins at 9 a.m. and is $18 per car. The first 75 cars to register receive a commemorative dash plaque and blacktop parking. Enjoy refreshments, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction, too. For more information, call 410-313-5440. Wed., Oct. 5, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Tap Aerobics Demo, North Laurel 50+ Center

Learn a new and fun way to tone, trim and tighten! Combining tap dance rhythms with a healthy, low-impact aerobic workout, Tap aerobics is suitable for women or men. Join our free demo with Ronnie Mack in the Dance Studio. Call 410313-0380 for more information. Thursday, Oct. 6, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. — Multi-Cultural Exchange, The Bain Center

Join us as we share different cultures and customs from our own backyard, partnering with our English as Second Language volunteers. If you would like to be a part of this program and teach us about your culture, call 410-313-7213. Tuesday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m. to noon – Dr. Mary Carson, Clinical Audiologist, Ellicott City Senior Center

Dr. Mary Carson, Clinical Audiologist from Clarity Audiology & Hearing Solutions in Ellicott City will perform free on-site hearing screenings. Please call 410-313-1400 for an appointment in advance. Wednesdays starting Oct. 12, 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Power over Pain, North Laurel 50+ Center

An eight-week support group for anyone living with chronic pain to develop and sustain a

positive attitude, gain information, talk to others living with CP, and find ways of coping. Free; call Karen Hull, 410-313-7466 for more information and to register. Tuesday, Oct. 18, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Gettysburg Bus Trip, Ellicott City Senior Center, $79 per person

Travel to Gettysburg in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War and enjoy lunch at the Hickory Bridge Farm Restaurant. Afterwards, we will visit the home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and stop at the Catoctin Orchard. For reservations, call 410313-1400 or stop by the front desk.

Thursdays starting Oct. 20, 10 a.m. to noon — Bereavement Support Group, The Bain Center

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Car Fit, Elkridge Senior Center

Do you fit properly in your car? Do you wear your seat belts properly? Find out with a free Car Fit evaluation by trained experts. Call 410-313-5192 to schedule an appointment. Thursday, Oct. 27, 10:30 a.m. to noon — Bain’s Got Talent!

If you think America’s Got Talent, come see what great talent we have here at The Bain Center! Join us for a show filled with music, singing and dancing. Free, but register early at 410-313-7213. Lunch is available for a nominal donation. Friday, Oct. 28 - Cozy Inn & Gettysburg Outlets, Elkridge Senior Center

The SPRING bereavement program is for anyone tmourning the loss of a loved one. The eight-week series incorporates educational materials and sharing and is recommended for anyone bereaved more than two months but less than two years. There is a $10 fee for the series (scholarships are available). Contact Karen Hull, 410313-7466 or for more information and to register.

Travel with us to lovely Thurmont, Maryland for a delicious lunch at the Cozy Inn Restaurant and shopping fun at the Gettysburg Outlets. Cost is $30 per person. Get a free shopping bag and great coupons for the stores! Call 410-313-5192 for more information and reservations.

With more than 140 vendors and exhibitors, a health fair, Living Green area, informative seminars and all day entertainment, the 50+EXPO is the premier event for older adults in Howard County. Visit 50plusexpo for details, or call 410-313-6410.

Don’t miss the annual Thanksgiving Luncheon & Show featuring a special performance by “Russ Margo & the Guyz.” Bring canned goods to donate to the Maryland Food Bank! Tickets are $12, on sale now at senior centers. For more information, call 410-313-5440.

Friday, Oct. 21, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 13th Annual 50+EXPO, Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Lane, Columbia

“Living Well...‘Take Charge of Your Health” North Laurel Community Center

9411 Whiskey Bottom Rd., Laurel, MD 20723

Thursdays, Oct. 13, 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Learn techniques to cope with the frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation often associated with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Also, learn exercises to maintain and improve strength, flexibility and endurance, and how to communicate more effectively with family, friends and health professionals. e class and accompanying materials cost $28. If you are interested, contact Maryland Access Point (MAP) at 410-313-5980.

Tuesday, Nov. 15, Doors open at 10:30 a.m. — Giving Thanks Celebration, Ten Oaks Ballroom, 5000 Signal Bell Lane in Clarksville

Nuts about Nuts!

By Rona Martiyan, MS, RD, LDN, Office on Aging Nutritionist Nuts are a “nutrient dense” food, offering lots of nutrition in a small amount. Nuts have also been shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL), are heart healthy, cholesterol-free, and in their natural state, contain no salt. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to store and easy to carry as a healthy snack. Here are some nutritional highlights: Almonds: high in Vitamin E Brazil nuts: one nut exceeds the Dietary Reference Intake of the mineral selenium

Pistachios: eating these may reduce cancer risk of the breast and prostate Pecans: contain more antioxidants than other nuts Walnuts: contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other nut Remember that most nuts are high in fat (although it’s the “good fat”), which may be a concern if you watching your caloric intake. Try eating a handful a day (about 1.5 ounces or 20 nuts), and buy only low-sodium or no salt versions. Sprinkle nuts on yogurt, salad, cereal, whole wheat cooked pasta or cooked vegetables — delicious!



O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Money Law &

BUY CASH-RICH STOCKS? Many companies have built up huge cash reserves, but is that an asset when considering stock purchases?

Consider mutual funds that limit volatility By Mark Jewell The best move for an investor suffering from stock shock might be to stick with the market. But do it in a way that takes some of the edge off its ups and downs. If you want smoother investment returns, put your money in a bond mutual fund. But don’t forego stock funds whose managers strive to reduce volatility. A few have consistently delivered on that difficult-to-achieve goal. And they’ve done so without giving up too much of the greater long-term earnings potential of stocks versus bonds. That’s a particularly appealing approach for investors in or near retirement. They may be living off of their savings, rather than building them up, so they’re not in position to wait long for stocks to rebound from a rough patch. “Volatility, in and of itself, is not bad if you’ve got enough time to make up for it,” said Harry Milling, a fund analyst with Morningstar. “If you don’t, then a lowvolatility strategy is really important.”

It’s easy to see why investors are wary of stocks now. Last month, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index whipsawed at least 4 percent for four consecutive days — two days up, two down. By mid-September, the index was down 6.3 percent for the year. That drop helps explain investors’ net withdrawal of $40 billion from mutual funds in a single week in August. It was the biggest such exit in nearly three years. Three-quarters of the amount withdrawn came from stock funds.

Finding safer stocks In a market like this one, stock funds that specifically pursue strategies to limit volatility tout any success they’ve had achieving that goal. They use a wide range of approaches — from investing in dividend-paying stocks of companies that typically offer greater stability than growth stocks, to buying half-stock, half-bond hybrids called convertibles. Yet there is a downside. When stocks rally, low-volatility funds are likely to un-

derperform peers taking less-constrained approaches. “You give up a little on the upside, in order to save you on the downside,” Milling said. “But over time, that approach often ends up winning the race.” Below are six low-volatility funds that are among Milling’s favorites. Each has either a top-rung 5-star or 4-star rating from Morningstar. Those ratings are based on past performance, and the level of risk taken to achieve investment returns. Over the long-term, each fund has demonstrated lower volatility than its peers — based in part on downside and upside “capture ratios.” Low-volatility funds with good downside capture ratios consistently suffered smaller losses than the S&P 500 when stocks declined. Conversely, during rallies these funds captured most of the gains, or in some instances beat the market. Those are among the volatility measures found on by clicking on a fund’s “risk & ratings statistics” tab.

The downside capture ratio is of particular interest in this market decline. The selloff offers a fresh but painful reminder of the realities of recovery math. If your stock portfolio loses 50 percent of its value, you’ll need a 100 percent gain — not 50 percent — to get back to where you started.

Six low volatility funds 1. American Century Equity Income (TWEAX): This large-cap value stock fund invests in dividend-paying companies best positioned to weather tough times. Managers also invest in convertible bonds, which offer the option of converting into the issuer’s common stock at a predetermined price. Convertibles provide the safety of a bond along with an opportunity to profit if the company’s stock rises in price. Over the past 15-year period, this fund has earned 70 percent of the S&P 500’s gains, while suffering just 49 percent of its declines. 2. BlackRock Equity Dividend See MUTUAL FUNDS, page 20

Will uncertainty affect healthcare stocks? By Dave Carpenter Healthcare stocks historically provide a relatively safe haven in roiling markets. They’re less tethered to the economy’s every movement than other stocks and tend to be less volatile. Anxious investors might be considering putting money in the sector, but the current outlook is complicated by uncertainty over the government’s changing involvement in healthcare. The wild card is potential cuts to Medicare or Medicaid, soon to be considered by Congress’ new debt-reduction supercommittee. So, is healthcare still a good defensive play given the possible reductions to entitlement programs? Healthcare stocks may bounce around more than usual for awhile because of the questions. But while extra caution is merited, they still have a strong chance to outperform other sectors in a down market, looking better than most other sectors from a defensive standpoint. Healthcare companies’ recent earnings and full-year outlooks have been strong.

And although volatility has been high, the sector’s swings have been less severe than in others. The Standards & Poor’s 500 index is down about 6.4 percent in 2011, as of late August, for example, while its healthcare components were up 1.4 percent.

Medicare’s impact One big concern is the hit that pharmaceutical stocks could take. A cutback in the $55 billion a year that the federal government spends on Medicare Part D, its fiveyear-old prescription drug plan, would likely affect prices. The impact has to do with the difference between Medicare, which is designed to help with long-term care for the elderly, and Medicaid, which covers healthcare costs for the poor. Seniors who are eligible for both government programs currently are reimbursed at Medicare rates, which are more profitable for pharmaceutical firms, noted Damien Conover, associate director of equity research at Morningstar. If reductions

are made, these seniors could be reimbursed at the less generous Medicaid rates instead. Another problem that could hurt the stocks is the flood of patent expirations and the shift toward generics. Generic versions of seven of the world’s 20 top-selling drugs will come on the market in the next 14 months, which will further hurt drug makers’ profit margins.

Government cuts raise concern Still another issue is that healthcare companies count on the government for more money than any other sector, according to Goldman Sachs, and those amounts are now vulnerable to cuts. It’s not just the drug manufacturers, such as Baxter International Inc. (68 percent of revenue from government), but a wide range of firms from insurers Humana Inc. (79 percent) and UnitedHealth Group (35 percent), to medical device makers Becton Dickinson & Co. (66 percent) and Medtronic Inc. (61 percent), to for-profit hospital chain HCA Holdings Inc. (41 percent).

The good news is that stock-watchers say the uncertainties already are factored into stock prices. Better-than-average cash flows and dividends make healthcare more defensive than the market as a whole, said Mitch Schlesinger, chief investment officer at FBB Capital Partners, an investment management firm in Bethesda, Md. Among strong companies with attractive dividend yields are Johnson & Johnson (3.6 percent), Novartis (3.6 percent) and Pfizer (4.5 percent). Those looking to buy a fund should consider the iShares S&P Global Healthcare exchange-traded fund (IXJ), which is down 11 percent since early July but still up 0.9 percent this year. “Healthcare isn’t what it used to be in the ’90s, when pharmas were coming out with all kinds of miracle drugs and they were considered sexy growth companies,” said Russ Koesterich, global chief investment strategist for BlackRock Inc.’s iShares. “But it’s a reasonable place to hide given the volatility.” — AP

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1


Opinions differ on wisdom of buying gold By Sarah DiLorenzo For what is normally a sleepy month, there were so many customers at the Gold Standard, a New York company that buys jewelry, that it felt like Christmas in August. And Uncle Ben’s Pawn Shop in Cleveland has never seen a rush like this. Welcome to the new American gold rush. The price of gold is on a remarkable run, setting a record seemingly every other day. Stomach-churning volatility in the stock market last month has only made investors covet gold more. Some want it as a safe investment for turbulent times. What worries some investors is that many others are buying simply because the price is rising and they want to make money fast. “Is gold the next bubble?” asked Bill DiRocco, a golf company manager in Overland Park, Kansas, who shifted 10 percent of his portfolio earlier this year into an investment fund that tracks the price of gold. He stopped buying because the price kept rising. In October 2007, gold sold for about $740 an ounce. A little over a year later, it rose above $1,000 for the first time. This past March, it began rocketing up. On August 22, it set a record high at $1,911. But in the following two days, gold prices fell by $150 an ounce, the largest two-day drop in more than decades. However, it’s still far higher than the $1,400 an ounce that gold fetched at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, stocks, despite rising sharply in the last two and a half years, are only slightly higher in price than they were a decade ago. Since hitting a record high in October 2007, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is down 23 percent.

Why so valuable? Gold hits a sweet spot among the ele-

ments: It’s rare, but not too rare. It’s chemically stable; all the gold ever mined is still around. And it can be divided into small amounts without losing its properties. Ultimately, though, gold is valuable because we all agree it is. It was used around the world as a currency for thousands of years, and then it gave value to paper currencies for a couple of hundred more. Now, in a time of turmoil — from the credit downgrade and debate over raising the debt limit in the U.S., to the growing financial crisis in Europe, to worries of slow growth across the globe — gold is dazzling investors. Since the financial crisis in 2008, central banks around the world have bought gold as a hedge against their foreign currency holdings. Earlier this month, South Korea announced it had bought gold for the first time in more than 10 years. Gold is “an effective hedge in a world where there is too much debt and uncertainty,” said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust, which owns $2.8 billion of gold in a gold fund. The last time gold prices rose so precipitously was a few years after President Richard Nixon ended a decades-long fixed relationship between the value of the dollar and the value of gold. In those days, the price of gold was fixed at about $35 an ounce. And many foreign currencies were pegged to the dollar. Gold gave the dollar its value, and the dollar gave everything else value. Then the U.S. began running a trade deficit, and dollars piled up abroad. Central banks could redeem dollars for gold. But it was a poorly kept secret that the U.S. didn’t have enough gold to cash out every dollar in circulation.

To head off a rush, Nixon “closed the gold window,” essentially saying that confidence in the U.S. government, not gold, gives the dollar its value. Gold and the dollar began to rise and fall freely, and gold earned its place as protection against the falling dollar when confidence lags. As inflation worsened later in the 1970s and dollars were worth less, the price of gold took off. Gold hit its high in 1980 — $850 an ounce, or more than $2,300 in today’s dollars.

A stable hedge or a bubble? This time is different because gold is rallying against all currencies, not just the dollar, said Jim Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. “Gold is the reciprocal of the world’s faith in the world’s central banks,” Grant said, and right now, “the world is in a pickle.” Gold prices will probably keep rising See GOLD, page 20

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Gold From page 19 until the U.S. and Europe get their finances in order, he said — and Grant doesn’t expect that to happen soon. He predicts inflation, low for the moment, will soar, further eroding the value of the dollar and leaving only gold as a good investment. Cetin Ciner, a professor of finance at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, disagrees. He thinks gold is near a peak and people who buy now are blindly chasing the rising price. “I’m thinking of it as like the dot-com stocks,” Ciner said.

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Both Ciner and Grant caution, however, that when it comes to gold prices, no one really knows. That’s because gold doesn’t have intrinsic value. It doesn’t offer an interest rate, like a bond, or represent a share of a company, like a stock. Gold is inherently speculative as an investment: You only make money if the price goes up. Sharlett Wilkinson Buckner, of Humble, Texas, recently took an old bracelet, ring and necklace to her local jeweler and walked out with $1,070. “I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home,” she said. “I fanned my money in front of him and said, ‘Look what I got for


Oct. 5


Open enrollment for next year’s Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D) runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. If you are thinking of enrolling or changing your current plan, this will be the time to do it. Join this free discussion on Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Kiwanis-Wallas Hall, 3300 Norbetts Way, Ellicott City. For further information, call (410) 313-7391.

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my gold.’” The next day, he sold an old gold necklace for $650. If Peter Hug is right, this frenzy for gold is likely to continue. The director of the precious metals division for Montrealbased Kitco, one of the largest dealers of precious metals, said gold is no longer “just for the crazy people” — Henny Pennys expecting the sky to fall. Hug said that until the U.S. tackles its debt and deficit problems, there’s no limit for the price of gold. “As long as people are terrified that their purchasing power is going to be eroded, gold goes to $3,000 an ounce,” Hug said.

Whether or not prices climb that high, many people are deciding it’s as good a time as any to sell Grandma’s jewelry. Pawn shops and gold brokers report a surge of people cashing in their gold. In the past two years, Tansky, who runs Uncle Ben’s and is president of the Ohio Pawnbrokers Association, said gold sales have doubled or tripled. That figure actually masks how hot gold is right now, he said, because others who would have come to his store have gone instead to unlicensed brokers that are trying to cash in. “I saw a barber shop that had a sign, `We buy gold,’” he said. “A barber shop! Can you imagine?” — AP

Mutual funds

ranking, yet is relatively small, with $89 million in assets. Over the past 10-year period, it has captured 95 percent of the market’s gains, while suffering 87 percent of its losses. 5. Queens Road Small Cap Value (QRSVX): With $56 million in assets, this small-cap value fund remains small despite its top rating. Its performance surpassed the overall market over the last 5-year period, capturing 104 percent of the gains, while suffering 88 percent of its losses. By keeping as much as 21 percent of its assets in cash, its managers have helped limit recent losses. 6. Royce Special Equity Investment (RYSEX): This well-known small-cap blend fund has captured 102 percent of the market’s gains over the last 10-year period, while suffering only 66 percent of the market’s losses. — AP

From page 18 (MDDVX): This large-cap value fund invests at least 80 percent of its assets in dividend-paying stocks. Over the past 15-year period, the fund has captured 79 percent of the market’s gains, while suffering 63 percent of its declines. 3. Calamos Growth & Income (CVTRX): This aggressive allocation fund holds a mix of stocks, bonds and convertibles. Over the past 10-year period, the fund ranks in the top 3 percent among its peers, with an average annualized return of nearly 6 percent. 4. LKCM Equity Institutional (LKEQX): Milling considers this large-cap blend fund a hidden gem. It’s got a 5-star


Oct. 19


Explore the costs of long-term care and its many options, including in-home care, assisted living and/or nursing home care at this free seminar. Also learn about long term-care insurance and the questions you need to ask when buying it on Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Kiwanis-Wallas Hall, 3300 Norbetts Way, Ellicott City. Advance registration required. Call (410) 313-7391.

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Cash-rich stocks to consider purchasing By Kathy Kristof Is cash king, or is cash trash? If you’re an investor, the question has never been so pertinent or pervasive. Dozens of major corporations reacted to the recession the same way consumers did. They started paying off debts and building up cash reserves. The industrial companies in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index are now sitting on a record stockpile, estimated at $959 billion, according to S&P.

Plusses and minuses This situation presents tremendous opportunities, but also enormous challenges. Experts say that investors’ fortunes could be made or broken depending on how the companies handle their cash. “You have to look at each company individually and figure out what they’re going to do with their treasure trove,” said Mark Boyar, principal at Boyar’s Intrinsic Value Research, in New York City. “Some companies will squander the money. Others will use it to significantly improve their performance.” Gigantic cash hoards have become important for several reasons. First, cash gives companies staying power and flexibility. Sitting on billions of dollars of easy-toaccess capital gives them the potential to start or boost dividends, buy back shares, and turbocharge future growth by purchasing other companies or investing in new facilities, technology and brainpower. But in today’s low-interest-rate environment, cash can also be a negative for companies — and by extension, their investors — because it doesn’t generate much income.

Which are worth buying? With that in mind, many savvy money managers are scrutinizing cash-rich companies, trying to find the relative handful


Oct. 5+


Interested in learning to tap dance? Join this fun and easy dance class led by Jackie Dunphy of the Golden Girls. Men and women are invited to take this class, and all levels are welcome. The class will be held on Wednesdays, Oct. 5 through Nov. 9 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Ellicott City Senior Center, 9401 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City. The fee is $38. To sign up or for more information, call (410) 313-1421.

Oct. 7+


Bring your own lunch and then play bingo on the first Friday of every month through December, starting Fri., Oct. 7 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Kiwanis-Wallas Hall, 3300 Norbetts Way, Ellicott City. Free admission. For further information, call (410) 313-7391.

that have the capital and the expertise to use their money wisely. Some experts, for example, say they’ve been nervously picking up shares of the nation’s fattest cash cow, Microsoft Corp. (symbol MSFT), which is sitting on a stockpile of nearly $50 billion. Why nervously? The stock looks cheap, selling for nine times estimated earnings for the fiscal year that ends in June 2012. But Microsoft also has a sorry history when it comes to deploying its assets, spending billions on ill-fated products, such as the forgettable Zune music player, and making disappointing acquisitions. Now Microsoft is getting ready to spend $8.5 billion on Skype, the Internet phone service. “There seems to be universal agreement that Microsoft overpaid,” said John Osterweis, co-manager of Osterweis Fund. “But if

Skype makes sense strategically, it is going to turn out to be very wise.” We give the nod to six companies — Apple (AAPL), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Google (GOOG), Intel (INTC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Whirlpool (WHR) — because they are not only cashrich but have executives who know what to

do with all that moolah. Plus, their stocks are relatively cheap. Kathy Kristof is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to For more on this and similar money topics, visit © Kiplinger’s Personal Finance


Nov. 4

FALLFEST Attend the Coalition for Geriatric Service’s (COGS) FallFest on Fri-

day, Nov. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. The event includes a silent auction and entertainment. Proceeds benefit Neighbor Ride and the Howard County Office on Aging’s Vivian Reid Community Fund. Tickets are $65. The event will be held at the Elkridge Furnace Inn, 5745 Furnace Ave., Elkridge. For more information and tickets, see

BRAND NEW APARTMENT HOMES FOR ACTIVE ADULTS 62 OR BETTER Regency Crest is an extraordinarily carefree community because of the convenient lifestyle enjoyed by those who live here. We go the extra mile to provide our residents with distinctive amenities and service that cannot be found in ordinary active adult communities. COMMUNITY AMENITIES • Beautiful club room with theater and demonstration kitchen • Wellness center • Indoor saltwater pool • Yoga studio and classes • Cooking Classes, and many more planned activities

• Movie theater • Billiards room • Business center • Incredible courtyard and meditation garden with koi pond and gazebo


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Vermeer, porcelain and more in charming Delft, Holland. See story on page 25.

Be adventuresome in Dominican Republic More than beaches and resorts Many people who think of the Dominican Republic, if they think of it at all, picture broad, golden sand beaches and a wide choice of all-inclusive resorts. There are many such settings, most located around Punta Cana at the eastern end of the island, and they have much to offer. But we set our sights elsewhere. Fyllis and I opted to spend our time at less-visited Puerto Plata on the northern coastline. It also boasts lovely beaches that are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean, and an inviting if more limited choice of resorts, some particularly affordable. An added bonus is a long list of activities beyond those available at most other places in the DR, as we learned to call our temporary home away from home. Visitors who are so disposed may spend their time basking in the sun at the resorts and on the beaches. If they do, they’ll miss opportunities to explore largely unspoiled countryside, interact with local residents, visit towns and villages little touched by tourism, and enjoy encounters with Mother Nature, ranging from tranquil to tough. PHOTO BY VICTOR BLOCK

For a glimpse of local life, visit the small villages beyond the Dominican Republic’s beach resorts. Residents are invariably friendly and welcoming of tourists.

First, a little history It doesn’t take long for today’s visitors to understand why, after spotting the verdant, mountainous land mass in 1492, Christopher Columbus wanted to establish a colony on the island that the Dominican Republic now shares with Haiti. As it turned out, it was another explorer who founded a city there 10 years later and named it Puerto Plata (“port of silver”). Among reminders of Spanish colonial days is a small but interesting stone fort, Fuerte de San Filipe (“Fort of Saint Phillip”), which still gazes out over the north shore. The oldest military fortification in the Americas, its massive walls enclose a little historical museum and a tiny cell in which Juan Pablo Duarte, a hero of the Dominican Republic’s fight for independence, was once detained.


By Victor Block “You expect me to climb up that?” I inquired of Carlos, who was guiding my wife Fyllis and me on our morning outing in the Dominican Republic. “And then to slide back down?” I added with growing trepidation in my voice. We were about to scale the first of what’s billed as “27 waterfalls,” a series of cascades and pools created by a rushing river whose arctic-like water contrasted with the heat of the surrounding rain forest. Only slightly reassured by our guide’s words of encouragement, I donned the required life jacket and helmet, swam to the bottom of the first fall, and climbed a rickety wood ladder to its summit. Only the devil-may-care attitude that Fyllis displayed as she plummeted down the chute prompted me to follow, rather than thinking of some excuse to descend the same way I had gone up. After returning safely, if slightly bruised, Fyllis and I stopped for a lunch of pit-roasted pig washed down by a cold local brew. That was followed the next day by hiking in a rainforest, pausing to explore caves that have been carved out over eons.

Fort San Felipe was built by the Spanish on a peninsula overlooking the north shore of the Dominican Republic, in part to ward off attacks by pirates. Construction began in 1539 and took several years to complete.

A later colonial period from the late 19th and early 20th centuries is brought to life by a cluster of wooden Victorian houses around Central Park. Their gingerbread motifs and wooden filigree are set off by a kaleidoscope of pastel colors. Another worthwhile stop in Puerto Plata is the Museo de Ambar Dominicano (Amber Museum). The northern shoreline of the country is known as the Amber Coast because the area contains the largest deposits of that semiprecious stone in the world, including rare blue, red and black varieties. Amber is fossilized pine resin that was formed some 50 million years ago. Specimens that contain preserved fossils are favored by many collectors. For anyone interested in buying amber who is not an expert, the museum’s shop is the safest bet. That offered by street vendors or at some stores may not be the real thing. The town of Puerto Plata is well located for visits to nearby villages, tourist complexes and beaches. Playa Cabarete (Cabarete Beach) is popular among both locals and visitors, especially those who like to wind surf. Prevailing breezes blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean make this one of the best locations in the world for that sport. Once a tranquil fishing village, Sosua evolved into a bustling (read that “touristy”) community known for an enclave of Jewish

residents whose relatives fled Europe just before World War II. Many are descendants of German and Austrian Jews who took advantage of the policy adopted by the Dominican Republic to help alleviate the suffering caused by the Holocaust. The townspeople were entirely Jewish until the opening of the Puerto Plata airport in 1980 led to the transformation of Sosua into a beach resort. The village is home to the first synagogue that was established in the country and a small museum that preserves the history of the original Jewish immigrants. The Sosua beach is one of the best in the Dominican Republic, a strip of soft white sand tucked into a cove sheltered by coral cliffs. Along with a collection of tourist shops selling the usual resort clothing and knickknacks, the beach is lined by little restaurants that serve good, simple food at reasonable prices.

Outdoor adventures with “Mama” When Fyllis and I sought a change from checking out beaches and sightseeing attractions, the challenge became which of an inviting choice of activities to select. As non-golfers, we couldn’t take advantage of well-known courses designed by the likes See DR ADVENTURES, page 24


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DR adventures From page 23 of Robert Trent Jones and Jack Nicklaus. So we decided to focus on new experiences. While options included dirt-biking, wind surfing and deep sea diving, we immediately added those to our “not in this life” list. Whitewater rafting, kayaking, river tubing and horseback riding had appeal, but we have enjoyed them in other places at other times. Then we found the perfect solution. We were directed to Iguana Mama, an outdoor tour operator that lives up to its slogan, “Mama knows best.” That heart-pounding climb up, and plummet down, waterfalls described earlier is but one choice among its long menu of offerings. Along with the usual selection of recreational pastimes available at many vacation spots, Mama throws in a few that catch your attention and, if you participate, your breath. Canyoning and zip lining provide trips over and down into the landscape. Sailing

on a catamaran, ocean fishing and whale watching cruises get salts and landlubbers alike out on the sea. After a detailed discussion of the alternatives with Michael Scates, who owns the operation, we selected two options that we thought would provide challenge enough but not too much. Michael described the six available mountain bike adventures in descending order of difficulty. He began with a 45-mile “Maximum Endurance” ride that even he admitted involves “hideousness and pain.” Not for us, we replied in unison. Instead, we opted for a gentle pedal over dirt roads that passed through neighborhoods of modest homes, waving to children playing in the streets as we steered to avoid what appeared to be bicycle-eating potholes and chickens scratching in the dust. No hideousness, no pain. After riding past coconut, mango, grapefruit and other trees that our guide, Carlos Rios, identified, we paused at a tiny collec-


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tion of animals too small to deserve the name “zoo.” A few pink flamingoes, turtles, iguanas and a sassy parrot had the run of the place, while a pair of crocodiles lay dormant, as crocs do, in small enclosures. Next on the itinerary was a ride in a rundown outboard motor boat on the slow-flowing Yessica River, past cows grazing in fields near the water and fishermen throwing their nets. Back on land, we enjoyed a cool drink of coconut milk sipped from the shell, and then pedaled back to our starting point. Another day, another outing. This time, it was a hike in the Choco National Park, named for the chocolate color of the earth. As with everything else Iguana Mama, this was not just a hike. It also involved exploration of several of the more than 100 limestone caves, many connected by underground rivers, which added a whole new dimension to the usual walk in the woods. Even more interesting to me was an encounter with an elderly man who invited us into his tiny, primitive hut, made of palm

tree wood and fronds, and offered us a snack of warm yucca. This epitomized every experience with the Dominicans we met, who invariably were friendly and courteous. The people I meet when traveling have much to do with how much I enjoy a destination. Add beautiful beaches, magnificent scenery and tiny towns, then throw in the long list of activities both familiar and less so, and the Dominican Republic has much to offer those seeking active days, hours lolling on the sand, or a combination of both.

If you go All-inclusive resorts are the choice of many travelers to the Dominican Republic. The Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort in Puerto Plata lives up to its name, offering every comfort in accommodations, along with opportunities to book virtually any recreation outside the sprawling property you might wish to pursue. There are several levels of lodging and lavish opulence, depending upon price. The usual “all inclusive” endless supply of food and beverages is available, along with swimming pools, spas and tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, plus other amenities. Daily activities range from golf and tennis lessons to classes in Spanish, aerobics and preparing a Dominican cocktail. For just one idea of what makes this resort special, picture the typical chaise lounges lined up on beaches, then think again. Guests luxuriate on queen-size platform beds, some double-decker, some slung hammock-like from palm trees. All-inclusive nightly rates for lying in the lap of luxury here start at $82 per person a night for a limited time, with your seventh night free after a six-night stay. Other seasons (and fancier accommodations and suites) can be considerably higher. For details, log onto or call (809) 970-7777, ext. 70083. Dining at the Lifestyle resort means selecting from four or more restaurants, ranging from white tablecloth to casual buffet. Fresh-caught seafood, beans and rice and fried plantain are among popular Dominican dishes, often prepared with a Spanish flair along with local touches. We also enjoyed lunch at the modestly priced Jorge Restaurant on Coco Beach, which consists of a few plastic tables and chairs on the sand. It offers excellent fish soup ($6), shrimp salad and curried chicken (both $8). We had dinner one night at Le Pappillon, just outside the entrance to the Lifestyle resort. Jovial, German-born Tomas Ackerman prepared his special onion pie appetizer ($8), along with goulash soup ($7) and chicken stroganoff ($13). For more information, call (809) 970-7640 or email the owner-chef at Flights start at $523 roundtrip on American Airlines from BWI Marshall Airport to Santo Domingo Las Americas International Airport. For more information about the Dominican Republic, call 1-888-374-6361 or log onto

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Vermeer and porcelain in quaint Dutch city

Touring Royal Delft Delft, the town, is synonymous with Royal Delft porcelain. An entire industry of socalled Delftware began in the 17th century (during Vermeer’s time), but just this one factory remains today. It’s open for tours and even offers would-be painters the chance to get a feel for the craft through workshops. Visitors get a thorough look at the history of the porcelain, and can watch it being decorated in the present-day by the factory’s seven painters or handful of artisans. To try your hand at it, book a workshop in advance. They start at $21 (14.5 euros), which does not include the pottery. Regular entry is $11.50 (8 euros). Skip the guided audio tour; there’s plenty of information on the walls and in pamphlets. There’s also a café and a shop where you can buy Delftware. See for more information. Delft’s charm is best experienced by ambling. Walk along the canals, admire the architecture, watch out for bikes and enjoy. There are several must-sees, including the towering, brick cathedral in the old city center, the Oude Kerk (Old Church), which dates to at least the 1200s. See Vermeer was buried here in 1675. The Vermeer Center showcases the life and work of Vermeer, who was born in Delft in 1632. The center, which is housed at the former St. Lucas Guild — where Vermeer served as dean of the painters — has examples of his work, a recreation of his studio and more. Entry is $10 (7 euros). See The Museum Het Prinsenhof tells the story of William of Orange, who led the Netherlands Revolt — a clash between the Protestants and Catholics in the late

1500s. Also on display are art and other wares from the city’s 17th century Golden Age. Entry is $10.70 (7.50 euros). See Search for the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) but don’t let the name fool you. Work on this cathedral, on the market square, started in 1396. Entrance fee of $5 (3.50 euros) gets you into both the Old and New churches. See On a visit here with my boyfriend, we became intimately acquainted with the bells of the Nieuwe Kerk, hearing them each morning from Hotel Emauspoort, where we were staying. Our room at the hotel was actually one of two Dutch caravans set up inside the courtyard. The trailer-like caravans look like wheeled wooden circus wagons, though they’re equipped with heat, shower, toilet and TV. They’re named for a famous Dutch clown character, Pipo, and his wife Mammaloe. Caravans cost about $135 (95 euros) per night. Inside the hotel, a themed-Vermeer room costs $216 (150 euros). For more info, see

A side trip to Den Haag The home of the United Nation’s International Criminal Court offers a larger city feel and standout museums, well worth a trip from Delft. The museum devoted to the avant-garde graphic artist M.C. Escher is well worth the trip to Den Haag alone. Visitors to the museum, Escher in Het Paleis, see the works of Dutch-born Escher displayed in the Lange Voorhout Palace, which has been owned by the Dutch royal family for more than a century. The museum showcases Escher’s life and work, while also telling the story of the royal family. Even the light fixtures in each room are a sight. Entry is a bargain at $11.50 (8 euros) — look for a euro-off coupon at tourist centers. Splurge on the $7 (5 euros) chance to play with depth and be in your own Escher-style keepsake print picture (and accompanying digital copy). See To see one of Vermeer’s most famous works, “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and art by other Dutch masters including Rembrandt van Rijn, visit the Mauritshuis. Housed in a stately 17th century mansion, the collection is also called the Royal Picture Gallery. Entry ranges from $15 to $17 (10.50-12 euros), depending on the season. (Check before you go as the museum is to begin renovations in April 2012.) See

A tulip wonderland If you’re visiting in the spring, don’t miss Keukenhof. This massive garden is open from late March to late May — when literally millions of Holland’s famed tulips, and other botanical delights, are on display. Cheesy but fun, Keukenhof is like an amusement park for flowers. A calliope at the entrance plays hits by the Bee Gees. Visitors can climb a windmill, take a boat tour


By Emily Fredrix You don’t have to be in Delft long to see what inspired Johannes Vermeer. Meandering up and down countless bridges that stretch over canals, and past storefronts and slender houses, the quaint Dutch life sets in. It’s this life — with its scenes of domesticity, milkmaids, and yes, that girl with the pearl earring — that the famed Dutch master so cherished during his lifetime in the city in the 1600s. And it’s one that comes alive for anyone who visits this city of about 100,000 people even centuries after Vermeer’s time. Granted, Delft is often overlooked as a tourist destination considering its larger, more cosmopolitan neighbors: Amsterdam is an hour by train and Den Haag (The Hague), some 25 minutes. But quaint does have a place and a time — and Delft exemplifies it. From the famed blue-and-white Royal Delft porcelain factory, to old Gothic churches, streets bordered by canals, and miles of bicycle paths, Delft is an ideal stop in the Netherlands. It’s also close enough for daytrips to Den Haag to visit the M.C. Escher Museum and, if you’re there in the spring, to see the famed tulips at Keukenhof.

Houses line a canal in the center of Delft, Holland, once home to painter Johannes Vermeer. Visitors can learn more about the artist at the Vermeer Center, as well as visit the facility where the famed Royal Delft porcelain is made and decorated.

through canals and tulip fields, and step into giant wooden shoes. See It’s reachable from Den Haag or Delft by hopping a train to nearby Leiden and then catching a bus. A $30 (21 euros) ticket from the tourist center across from the train sta-

tion covers garden admission and roundtrip bus ride; otherwise admission alone is $21 (14.50 euros). To see colorful tulip fields in the area, rent bikes outside the park starting at $12 (8.5 euros). — AP

Upcoming Trips Fall Foliage and Shenandoah Caverns

Experience one of the best fall foliage displays in the East as we travel scenic Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. In addition, we’ll visit the Shenandoah Caverns, American Celebration on Parade, and other area attractions.

Wednesday, October 12 $109 per person “Me and My Girl” at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre

This truly charming musical is about a working-class man who inherits a large fortune and the title of Earl, then discovers a branch of blue-blood relatives. The hit songs include The Lambeth Waltz, Once You Lose Your Heart, Leaning on a Lamppost, and Love Makes the World Go Round. This show will have you dancing in the aisles. A delicious buffet lunch precedes the show.

Saturday, November 12, $129 per person “Winter Wonderland” Christmas Show Join us at the American Music Theatre in Lancaster, PA, for this warm and wonderful show of favorite holiday carols and songs, breathtaking music and dance, and a visit from Santa. Before the show enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at Miller’s Smorgasbord Restaurant.

Sunday, December 4 $129 per person Christmas in Nashville – Gaylord Opryland Resort The Gaylord Opryland Resort pulls out all the stops for Christmas to create their dazzling winter wonderland. This trip includes a Country Christmas Dinner and Show with Louise Mandrell; the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, complete with the famous Rockettes; the Gaslight Theatre ice sculptures, and so much more. Make this a Christmas season to remember. December 11-13 $995 per person, dbl. occ.

Call us for more information on these and our other trips.

Travel with Louise, Ltd. 3 0t r a1v e-l w5i t9h l 8o u-i s0e . 7c o 5m 7


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Ghost vibes From page 1 For example, there’s Charlie, a box-moving and stair-climbing ghost at the B&O Railroad Museum’s Ellicott City Station, and Louisa, reported to haunt the Tourism Office itself. Of course, that makes sense when you learn the office is built on the former site of the Hillsinger Funeral Home. Other ghosts have ties to legends of an earlier Ellicott City, including pre-Civil War slave quarters, the old Thomas McGowan Hotel and Berger’s Grocery Store.

Spooky Savage Mill This fall, Schoppert’s character has changed his venue to the old mill town of Savage, just off Maryland Route 32, near US Route 1. Today the town’s focal point, Savage Mill, is a sprawling, eclectic shopping area of antique stores, restaurants, a fitness studio, crafts shops and artists’ studios housed in four stone, wood and brick buildings built in the early 1800s along the Little Patuxent River. But when it was first constructed and going strong in the early 1820s, Savage Mill workers produced cotton fabrics and heavy canvas for sailing vessels (those famed Baltimore clippers among them). Savage Mill canvases were also used for tents, cannon covers and other supplies for Civil War armies.

In the early 20th century, the mill turned out wide canvases that were shipped to California for the painted backdrops that were used in early motion pictures. They were also used for canvas cots, transport bags and truck covers used by U.S. soldiers in Europe in both World Wars. The mill closed in 1947. One recent afternoon at the mill, Schoppert took a break from some research he’s doing for the tour guides’ script. Moving around the vast, high-ceilinged spaces, he talked about the ghosts of workers who broke their necks when they stumbled and rolled down long stairwells into solid stone walls. Witness his “star ghost” Rebecca King, who was carrying a large bundle and tripped on her long skirt going down a steep staircase in the 1840s. There were suicides, too. There have been reported sightings of the ghost of a workman who hanged himself from a beam in a corner tower. People have reported seeing him staring out the tower window. Others have seen the image of his body swaying at the rope’s end through that same window. But much of Schoppert’s conversation deals with tales of the child ghosts of the mill. “This mill was full of children. The mill was started in 1822, during the early days of the industrial revolution,” he points out. “There were no child labor laws then. Hundreds of children as young as 5 or 6

Monthly Membership Meeting Wednesday, September 28, 2011 • 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. Location: Ellicott City Rehab (CommuniCare) 3000 North Ridge Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043 Speaker: Bailey Vernon, Education Coordinator with the Alzheimer's Association Topic: "What is Alzheimer's." COGS is an organization of senior care professionals working to improve the lives of seniors in our community. If you are a professional senior care provider and would like membership information, please email us at

For more information email COGS Administrator at or visit our website at

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

worked [here], mostly in the weaving rooms around the looms.” The looms were lengthy structures, sometimes several yards long. When there was a malfunction, the children (whom the workers called “monkeys”) scampered in to pick up the missing part or reset the threading mechanism. The shuttle, known as the “weasel,” passed the thread between the weaves. If it got stuck or fell, the monkeys were sent in to set it back in motion again — often a hazardous task that might result in a child losing a finger or suffering other injuries. “In light of this, you can find new meaning in the old ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ nursery song,” Schoppert suggested, citing the looms as places of “cobbling things together,” the monkey reference and the weasel one as well. “Pop” would be the smack of the weasel striking the child, he explained. “And for many this was the only work they ever knew. They’d grow up and do adult work here for maybe 50 more years,” he said.

Collecting ghostly tales Schoppert is adding to the research on the mill ghost stories, interviewing people currently working there about their experiences with the paranormal. He tells of a worker at a food establishment who reported coming in one morning and finding children’s fingerprints all over the counter that had been wiped down the night before. This very afternoon, another worker tells of coming in early one day recently and calling out a greeting to a friend in another shop as she passed by. But the friend didn’t return the greeting, and when asked why later told her she hadn’t been at work that morning. “But I saw her,” she insisted. “Or I saw a figure I thought was her. But it never acknowledged me.” She’s still shaking her head as Schoppert records her story in his notebook for adding to his ghost tour script. Any other spooky sightings at the mill recently? A frightened young girl has been seen knocking on the glass window of the door to a modern office several times. But when the workers open the door, she has disappeared.

Schoppert suspects she might be the same girl who may have tripped him. She reportedly lies in wait at a divided stairway in the main shopping area, occasionally tripping the worker or visitor who ventures up her side of the double stairway. Schoppert’s tours cover most of the inside mill structures and move outside into a courtyard centered among the four buildings: The dominant feature outside the mill is the Bollman Truss semi-suspension bridge, dating back to 1860 when the B&O Railroad serviced the mill. Although this style of wrought and cast iron bridge was used across the county, the others have all rusted out. This is the last one standing. It has been recognized as a national monument — and it merits a couple of its own haunting stories as well. The train carrying Abraham Lincoln’s casket — and later a ghost train version of that event — are both said to have come across this bridge. There may also have been a lynching of a Southern sympathizer during the Civil War period, as there have been reports of sightings of a body swaying under the ties of the bridge. Schoppert suggests that there is still some question about whether it was here or at another site farther up the river where the lynching may have occurred. But that’s another topic requiring more research. Schoppert’s looking forward to it. The hour-plus ghost tours are held every Friday and Saturday night from April through November at 8:30 p.m. They start at the Visitor Information Center at 8267 Main St. in Ellicott City. Tickets are $13 ($11 for those 65 and over and for children 12 and under). The tours are not recommended for children under age 6. Reservations are strongly encouraged. There are elevators at Savage Mill to accommodate wheelchairs. For more information on any of the ghostly activities in Ellicott City or Savage Mill, to reserve tickets, or even to inquire about employment, call (410) 313-1900 or visit the website of the Howard County Office of Tourism and Promotion at Tour guides are paid $35 per tour, plus tips.

Coalition of Geriatric Services, Inc., P. O. Box 2131, Ellicott City, MD 21041

Columbia Pro Cantare

Presents The 6th Annual


FallFest 2011


Friday, November 4th Elkridge Furnace Inn • 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

TOM BENJAMIN: Old Brick Oratorio

Featuring a Fabulous Silent Auction, Entertainment by Frank & Trish Curreri and Dinner All Proceeds Benefit Neighbor Ride and the Howard County Office on Aging’s Vivian Reid Community Fund Tickets: $65 per person and are on sale at For more information contact COGS at Make a Difference in the Life of a Senior – Support FallFest 2011

200th Celebration of Christ Episcopal Church

World Premiere October 15, 8 PM

Robert Cantrell, bass-baritone, Alison Gatwood, soprano The Lexington Brass Quintet, String Quartet of St. John’s Orchestra; Erik Apland, piano; Donald Fries, organ; Greg MacDonald, percussion. All tickets $25.

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1

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Arts &

What’s new at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival? See story on page 28.

Murder, blackmail and music in Chicago

Corruption in ‘20s Chicago The story — which deals with murder, corruption, blackmail, sex, adultery, cheating and exploitation, among other wicked human ways in 1920’s shoot-‘em-up Chicago — is told, as one would expect in a musical, mostly through song and dance. The overall production and performanc-

es are first-rate and enjoyable, despite the confined space of the dinner theater. Still, it takes some smart maneuvering by directors Toby Orenstein and Lawrence B. Munsey, and choreographer Ilona Kessell, to allow the chorus guys and girls to take the modified, but still hard-swinging steps originally conceived by the great Bob Fosse. By the way, while Chicago, the movie, won six Academy Awards, the way it was put together as a film seems less daring then its staged construction. The movie narration was more traditional than it is in the play, giving more gradual and conventional motivations for most of its characters. But for my money, the stage version — with its black-out scenes and swiftly drawn reasons for the action — carries more of a wallop. The characters are hit, and hit you, over the head much quicker on stage. Just like the tabloid world being satirized.

Stand-out stars The local cast, meanwhile, is more than worthy. While Fosse’s choreography undoubtedly has had to be harnessed, the vivid songs by John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (lyrics) are properly belted out. Carole Graham Lehan, who plays Roxie Hart, the wannabe vaudeville star, is my kind of leading murderess. Poor Roxie, who knocks off her lover for his too-quick departure from her loving arms, legs and other parts, wants her whole life played

Candlelight Concerts® 2011-2012 Season Opener Saturday, October 1, 2011 8:00 PM Smith Theatre, Howard Community College Columbia, MD

Ying Quartet Mozart: Quartet in E-flat Major, K. 428 Moravec: Anniversary Dances Novacek: Three Rags for String Quartet Smetana: Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

410.997.2324 Funded in part, by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, the Howard County Arts Council through a grant from Howard County, The Columbia Foundation, The Rouse Company Foundation, and The Columbia Bank.


By Robert Friedman When Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville opened on Broadway in 1975, many in the audience were said to be shocked — shocked! — by the show’s subversive view of such seeming American verities as a fair and impartial justice system and the secular sainthood of celebrities. But that was then, 36 years ago. Now, yesterday’s biting cynicism has become today’s relished realism. The play is still a stinging satire. But it is doubtful, given the intervening real-life trials and tribulations of O.J., Robert Blake, Casey Anthony and assorted honest-as-the-nights-are-short politicians, that much ado will now be made about the message. The rechristened Chicago: The Musical, finally became a huge Broadway stage hit in 1996, not to mention an Oscar-winning film in 2003. The show is still going strong along the Great White Way. Audiences here also have a chance to see a version of the play with a resident cast at Toby’s Dinner Theater in Columbia. The show runs through Nov. 6.

Manipulative attorney Billy Flynn (lying on a bench), played by Jeffrey Shankle, tells the audience of Chicago that the murder trial at the center of the musical “is all a circus.”

out in headlines. But she only manages her 15-minute quota of fame. Lehan comes across as a sweet tough cookie who puts all that jazz into numbers

such as “Me and My Baby,” “We Both Reached for the Gun” and especially See CHICAGO, page 29


Arts & Style | More at

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1 — H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N

Festival spotlights latest trends in crafts beach glass, driftwood, windshield shards or old coins. Home décor: In home fashions, the buzzword for this season, according to Verdier, is “raw.” Wood coffee tables, chairs and lamps, for example, are retaining their natural shape, color and textures, while metal artists are accentuating the inherent qualities of their materials rather than embellishing them. Fine art: Digital images and techniques are more prevalent in painting, printmaking and photography, and fine artists are manipulating images to create unique collectibles.



By Carol Sorgen Hot trends So, what’s new in the crafts world? More “American craftspeople are always inventthan 250 American craftspeople and artists ing and experimenting,” said Deann Verdier, will answer that question at the Sugarloaf president of Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. “They Crafts Festival in Timonium, taking place set the style and create the trends in fashion, from Friday, Sept. 30 housewares, jewelry and art.” through Sunday, Oct. 2. According to Verdier, The theme of this 35th what’s new this season in anniversar y festival is American crafts includes: “New This Season.” It Fashion: In right now is will showcase the latest wearable art — items that can work, techniques and be worn in a variety of ways, materials of the jury-seincluding sweaters, shawls lected artists. and shrugs that double as Among the items to be scarves or belts, and outerdisplayed are functional wear that serves double duty and decorative pottery, as dresses or blouses. sculpture, glass, jewelry, Jewelr y: The trend for fashion, wood, metal, furjewelry artists is combining niture, home accessories, A purse crafted by Baltitraditional metals with more artist Ann Tyler. photography and fine art. found objects, such as

Contemporary jewelry creations by Marti MacSherry.

Baltimore artists In addition to artists from across the

“Public television‘s most ambitious series in years” — The Hollywood Reporter

country, a number of recognized Baltimorearea artists and craftspeople will be featured in the festival. Among them are Ann Tyler of Baltimore, who creates handbags through her limitededition collection, Millie Bags; Olga Goldin of Reisterstown, who specializes in traditional Jewish ceramics; Barbie Levy of Owings Mills, who is known for her lightweight earrings that incorporate metal and colorful glass beads; and Lucile Martin (Marti) MacSherry of Butler, who creates classic jewelry with a simple, modern edge. Visitors to the festival can also enjoy entertainment and activities such as artist demonstrations, live music and specialty foods sampling. Hours for the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival are Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission (good for all three days) is $7 when purchased online; $9 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted free. The festival will be held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Rd. in Timonium. Free parking is available on site. For more information, including driving directions and admission discounts, visit or call 1-800-2109900.


Oct. 1+

Fridays 9:30pm Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore ....................10/14 Pearl Jam Twenty...................10/21 Miami City Ballet....................10/28 Give Me The Banjo..................11/4 Bill T. Jones: A Good Man ......11/11

Women Who Rock.................11/18 Il Postino from LA Opera .....11/25 Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park .................12/2 The Little Mermaid................12/16

National funding for the PBS Arts Fall Festival is provided by a generous grant from the Anne Ray Charitable Trust


The Orthodox Church of St. Matthew will host its fourth annual Multi-Cultural Festival featuring free live entertainment by local ethnic musicians and dancers, food dishes from around the globe, handmade crafts, guided church tours and more. The festival will be open on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 2 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Orthodox Church of St. Matthew, Kings Contrivance Village Center, 7271 Eden Brook Dr., Columbia. For further information, call (410) 381-3737.

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H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1

Chicago From page 27 ”Roxie.” Jeffrey Shankle rankles wonderfully as Billy Flynn, your usual media-manipulating, double-dealing, jury-duping, evidencecontorting shyster attorney. In “All I Care About is Love” Flynn-Shankle sings and dances and you know he is sweetest on himself. Debra Buonaccorsi displays the proper pizzazz as Velma Kelly, a hubby murderer (she also knocked off her sister, in bed with hubby at the time), who longs for a return to the life of a trouper. She scores with Roxie in a couple of duets (“My Own Best Friend,” and “Nowadays”) and with

the prison matron, when the two show off their “Class.” Others who deserve mention are Nancy Tarr Hart, who plays the matron in the women’s prison and will do anything for the girls, as long as the price is right; Munsey, the co-director, who’s also all over the place acting the master of ceremonies and what seems like a half dozen other parts; and Chris Rudy, as Mary Sunshine, the gabby reporter who looks happily at life from all sides and reveals that not much is as it may seem There’s also David James, playing Amos Hart, Roxie’s nebbishy husband whom no one notices, even when he sings “Mister Cellophane,” a song about no one noticing him. I think James should work harder in


Oct. 4


and tilapia, a salad bar, and a large variety of side dishes and desserts. In addition to many of the dinner items, the Sunday brunch buf fet also includes scrambled eggs, French toast, bacon and sausage. Tickets, including both meal and show (but not sodas or alcoholic beverages) are $50 for Sunday and Thursday evening shows and Wednesday matinees, $51.50 for Friday evening, $53 for Saturday evening, and $48 for Sunday matinee brunch. Tickets for children ages 12 and under are $34.50 for all performances. For tickets and more information, call (410) 730-8311 or go to Robert Friedman is a freelance writer.

that song at not being noticed. Kudos to the real live band, maybe five or six pieces that swung along with the singers and dancers. The band, hidden behind a curtain, was directed by Christopher Youstra. While this production of Chicago may not blow you away, it certainly will stir you up enough for an invigorating evening or matinee.

Going to the show Chicago continues at Toby’s Dinner Theatre, 5900 Symphony Woods Rd., Columbia, through Nov. 6. Prior to the show, the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet features steamship round, roast turkey breast, baked ham, chicken


Oct. 12

PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES Professional dance instructors from That’s Dancing Ballroom and

DanceSport Center teach Latin dances in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Lessons will be given on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. at the Howard County Library Central Branch, 10375 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. For fur-


Filmmaker and former fashion model Nicole Clark explores how fashion and the cult of celebrity affect teens and young women in her documentary Cover Girl Culture: Awakening the Media Generation, to be shown on Wednesday, Oct. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the East Columbia Branch Library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. A discussion will follow the screening of the award-winning film. For further information, call (410) 313-7700.

ther information, call (410) 313-7800.


Oct. 4

GROUP KNITTING AND CROCHETING Bring your knitting and crochet needles and enjoy good conversation with others while creating afghans, blankets, baby wear and

more for local charities, hospitals and senior centers. This volunteer-led group


On Oct. 4, spend the day touring an Amish farm, go for a buggy ride, and enjoy a meal in the home of an Amish family. There’s also time for shopping at an Amish market. The cost of this Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks trip is $89 per person. To register or for additional information, call (410) 313-7279.

meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at Kiwanis-Wallas Hall, 3300 Norbetts Way, Ellicott City. For further information, call (410) 313-7391.











From page 30.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2011 9:00 am - 4:00 pm Wilde Lake High School 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia (",3.)24$"%&%"$'(!)'!*'

9@"A-B)/-$& %*./-(2 Over 140 Exhibitors C.D./7&E(%%/&F%/@)(2 :$$&;-G&9/+%(+-./*%/+ 4))@&H&8%'(%2!*%/+2 I%-$+!&4-.(&-/@&4$"& !)+2J

Classical Concerts

Higdon & Tchaikovsky Saturday, October 15, 2011 • 7:30 .. Jim Rouse Theatre, Columbia, MD Aaron Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 Jennifer Higdon: Percussion Concerto Christopher Rose, percussion

(410) 465-8777

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4%#.,$'(!)'!*' +$5,"3.4!*%$'2)$4%#.,$ *!2( +$-!**.#!*$3*,)'(!*3,3.!)$-!4(,)/ +$ 2.#%$3!$*%3.*%4%)3$".&.) $'!2*-%5!!6 +$30%$5%,-!)$)%1'(,(%*' +$30%$52'.)%''$4!)30"/

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Puzzle Page

Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus X Marks the Spot by Stephen Sherr 1







10 16




21 26





33 37

41 50













28 31 34





44 51


















1. Farm newbie 6. Abs’ partners 10. E-mail sort option 14. Far Eastern capital city 15. Eye check 16. Late-night host 17. Supplement 18. 1/6th of an inch 19. ___-In His Lamp: Bugs Bunny’s Baghdad bother 20. Means justifiers 22. ___ and feather 23. Airport meeting place 24. Communicate with a teen 26. Family room fixtures 29. Breyers flavor 30. Sea eagle 31. ___ a time (single file) 32. Use the left lane 33. Affection 36. Help with the dishes 37. Lee that nobody doesn’t like 39. Comment by 1 Across 41. Entryway to Houston 44. Rio Carnival dances 46. Whaler 50. Elite 52. Logical beginning 53. Nintendo rival 54. With 58A, shape you can make by connecting all of the X’s in this puzzle 57. Canned 58. See 54 Across 59. Unrefined 60. Dr Pepper, for example 62. Let ___ (Beatles coda) 63. Blue dye source 65. Sin city 68. First name of the “First Lady of Song” 69. Jazzman Calloway 70. ___ Gay (“Little Boy” carrier)









Scrabble answers on p. 29.




Answer: What he got when he paid off his expensive watch monthly - TIME ON “TIME” Jumbles: METAL REARM ENTIRE JURIST


60 64

61 65

71. Oboe part 72. Direction to Toledo Spain from Toledo Ohio 73. Goes on endlessly

Down 1. Part of a Cuban dance 2. Owned 3. Sorts 4. NFL pre-game ritual 5. Sort 6. Cheerleader’s specialty 7. Deplaning 8. Chocolate producer 9. Stylish 10. Wine bottle 11. Lounged on the pool deck 12. Having a hot streak 13. Humbleness 21. Environmental club 24. Penthouse floor, generally 25. Maddux measure 27. Fantasy 28. Foreshadow 34. Swiftly 35. Patches the outfield 38. Regarding 40. Parade place 41. More audacious 42. ___ Less Conversation (Elvis’ last #1 hit) 43. Unlike oil and water 45. Not one; not the other 47. A different shape you can make from this puzzle’s X’s 48. Stay alive 49. Rotten, like an apple 51. Put butter on toast 55. Furious 56. Grams 61. “I have finished talking” 64. Tell a tall tale 66. Space bar neighbor 67. Stockholm-based airline

Answers on page 29.

H O WA R D C O U N T Y B E A C O N — O C T O B E R 2 0 1 1

CLASSIFIEDS The Beacon prints classified advertising under the following headings: Business & Employment Opportunities; Caregivers; Computer Services; Entertainment; For Sale; For Sale/Rent: Real Estate; Free; Health; Home/ Handyman Services; Miscellaneous; Personals; Personal Services; Vacation Opportunities; and Wanted. For submission guidelines and deadlines, see the box to the right. CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Beacon does not knowingly accept obscene, offensive, harmful, or fraudulent advertising. However, we do not investigate any advertisers or their products and cannot accept responsibility for the integrity of either. Respondents to classified advertising should always use caution and their best judgment. EMPLOYMENT & REAL ESTATE ADS: We will not knowingly or intentionally accept advertising in violation of federal, state, and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status or handicap in connection with employment or the sale or rental of real estate.

Caregivers LICENSED, EXPERIENCED CNA + RN nursing student seeks full-time night position. Pet-friendly & with stellar references. If interested, please call Jacqueline @ 301-787-3555.

For Rent/Exchange Real Estate LEISURE WORLD® - $269,000. 2BR+ Den. 2FB “G” in Turnberry Courts. Freshly painted, golf course view. Shows like a model. 1446sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $249,500. 2BR + Den, 2FB “S” model in “Fairways”. Remodeled kitchen and baths, custom window treatments, Garage space. 1460 sq ft, Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® -$84,900. 1BR 1-1/2FB “Elizabeth” model. Recently renovated. New appliances, custom window treatments, view of trees. 1308 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $54,500. 2BR 1FB “Carlyle” model coop. Renovated, new appliances, new windows. 1035 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463.

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For Rent/Exchange Real Estate



LEISURE WORLD® -$84,900. 1BR 1FB “A” in “Greens”. New paint and carpet, view of trees enclosed balcony, close to elevator. 850 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors 301-928-3463.

STAMP COLLECTIONS, AUTOGRAPHS purchased/appraised – U.S., worldwide, covers, paper memorabilia. Stamps are my specialty – highest price paid! Appraisals. Phone Alex, 301309-6637.


LEISURE WORLD® - $219,000. 2BR + den, 2FB “R” model in “Fairways”. Ceramic tile enclosed balcony, table space kitchen, garage parking, new carpet. 1420 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $61,900. 2BR 1FB “Hampton” model. Convenient to Broadwalk, in move in condition. 1200 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® -$96,900. 2BR 2FB “E” in “Fairways”. Freshly painted, Berber carpet, enclosed balcony, close to elevator. 980 sq. ft, Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® -$96,000. 2BR 2FB “E” model in “Greens”. Garage. Close to elevator. Enclosed balcony. Garage $20,000 extra. 990 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $159,000. 3BR 2FB “Capri” villa. Updated kitchen, open balcony, huge space. 1415 sq. ft. Stan Moffson, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $359,000. 2BR 2FB “G” in “Overlook”. 1st floor with enclosed patio plus open terrace, golf course view, upgraded kitchen, garage space, new paint. 1720 sq ft. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $289,000. 3BR 2-1/2BA “M” in the “Greens” with Garage, Table space kitchen with window, extra storage. 1530 sq ft. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $395,000. 3BR 2FB “L” in “Vantage Point”. Corner unit with 3 exposures, new paint, enclosed balcony, 1720 sq ft. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $83,900. 2BR 2FB “Warfield” model. Table space kitchen with window, 1st floor, patio, separate laundry room, 1116 sq. ft. Reserved parking. 1116 sq. ft. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463.

TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 5th of each month. Note: Only ads received and prepaid by the deadline will be included in the next month’s issue. Please type or print your ad carefully. Include a number where you can be reached in the event of a question. Payment is due with ad. We do not accept ads by phone or fax, nor do we accept credit cards. Private Party Text Ads: For individuals seeking to buy or sell particular items, offer a personal service, or place a personal ad. Each ad is $10 for 25 words, 25 cents for each additional word. Commercial Party Text Ads: For parties engaged in an ongoing commercial business enterprise. Each ad is $25 for 25 words, 50 cents for each additional word. Note: Each real estate listing counts as one commercial ad. Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to the Beacon, to:

The Beacon, Classified Dept. P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227 s a t! e ak gif M at e gr

Beacon The


LEISURE WORLD® - $93,500. 2BR 2FB “E” in “Fairways” New paint and carpet, new HVAC, pond view, lots of closets. 980 sq ft.. Stan Moffson 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD RENT: House, Mutual 16, two master bedroom suites w/full baths. Large living room, dining room, Florida room, eat-in kitchen, new appliances, W/D, 2-1/2 car garage. Nov. 1, 2011. Information 301-651-8738 or 410-290-1155.

Personal Services PARALEGAL: Experienced in trusts, estates and will preparation and other letters and paperwork. Call 301-565-2917.

A Conversation with the Experts Would you recognize fraud if it happened to you? Wednesday, October 5 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. Vantage House Retirement Communty 5400 Vantage Point Rd. Columbia, MD 21044





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Brooke Grove Retirement Village

Community Health Fair for Seniors Wednesday, October 12, 2011 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Stations include:

With a goal of promoting wellness, Brooke Grove Retirement Village is pleased to partner with Celtic Healthcare to host a FREE Community Health Fair for Seniors. The event will be held on campus in the

Sharon Courtyard of Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Nursing Center 18131 Slade School Road Sandy Spring, MD 20860 For further information, contact Toni Davis at 301-924-2811, option 3 or

ÝÛ Blood pressure, pulse and oxygen level screening provided by Celtic Healthcare and Brooke Grove Retirement Village nurses ÝÛ Gait velocity testing provided by Celtic Healthcare physical therapists ÝÛ Balance evaluations provided by Celtic Healthcare physical therapists ÝÛ Seated massages provided by a licensed massage therapist ÝÛ Flu shots provided by EMUrgent Care of Olney/Sandy Spring ($25 if not covered by Medicare) ÝÛ Wii bowling (just for fun!) ÝÛ Healthful cooking demonstrations and tips by Chef Bonita Woods of the Bonita Woods Wellness Institute ÝÛ “Maintaining Your Independence as You Age” Seminar presented at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. by Geriatric Medicine Specialist Patricia Tomsko Nay, M.D.

Connecting Home and Health

ÝÛ Tours of Brooke Grove Retirement Village

October 2011 Howard County Beacon Edition  

October 2011 Howard County Beacon Edition

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